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Archive for the ‘NM wildfires’ Category

Colorado Blaze Devours 42,000 Acres in 60 Hrs

Posted by feww on June 12, 2012

High Park Fire in Larimer County, CO, consumes 42,000 acres in 2½ Days

The High Park Fire in Larimer County about 15 miles west of Fort Collins was sparked by lightning on Saturday June 11 and has already consumed an estimated 42,000 acres (~ 65 sq miles, 170 km²), destroying at least 120 structures. 

Flame lengths of 300 feet have been reported, with the fire moving at up to 40 feet per minute at times, Inciweb reported. The blaze is currently zero percent contained and the activity is expected to increase due to the “very, very dry fuels,” wind and fire weather conditions.

“The hope for containment today is tenuous — totally dependent on the weather,” said the incident commander. “We may be at zero percent tonight.”

Thousands of people have abandoned their homes amid demands by Colorado’s congressional delegation that the U.S. Forest Service commits more resources to the fire.

The blaze has claimed at least one life, as of posting.

Panorama of High Park fire from the 3rd floor of Rigden Farm Senior Living Complex, Southeast Fort Collins, 6:15 p.m. June 10, 2012.  Photo courtesy of Jane Thomson

Inciweb said,

Pre-evacuation planning is underway with Glacier View Fire but no pre-evacuation orders have been sent.

Fire movement toward the northwest portion of Horsetooth Reservoir has subsided, however fire activity has the potential to increase in the afternoon.

The evacuation center is located at the McKee Building at The Ranch.

Evacuation orders remain in place for the following areas:

-South of County Road 38E from Gindler Ranch Road west to Milner Ranch Road (325 notifications).

-County Road 38E is now closed from Masonville to Harmony Road at the junction of Taft Hill Road.

-Crystal Mountain area including Crystal Mountain Road and the Upper Buckhorn (24 notifications).

-Bonner Peak Subdivision (183 notifications)

-Buckhorn Rd from CR27 to Pennock Pass and residents to the south approximately 3/4-1 mile. (69 notifications).

-North of CR38E, from Horsetooth Reservoir to Redstone Canyon to Lory State Park. (326 notifications)

-Stove Prairie Road north along County Road 27 to Highway 14, east along Highway 14 to approximately mile marker 111, southeast to Rist Canyon Fire Station 1, then back west to to include Wilderness Ridge Way, Rist Creek Road, Spring Valley Road and County Road 41 and all of the roads that run off of it. All of Rist Canyon (west of 27E) and all roads off of it, including Whale Rock Road and Davis Ranch Road. South 3 additional miles on County Road 44H to just north of Stringtown Gulch Road.

-Poudre Park (along Highway 14) area from mile marker 111 to mile marker 118.

-Highway 14 from Ted’s Place to Stove Prairie is closed, as well as Stove Prairie Road and Rist Canyon.

-Sunday include all residents from County Road 27E to Bellvue and for the area south and west of Bellvue, including Lory State Park and Red Stone Canyon, and Buckhorn Road from Masonville up to Stove Prairie School. Evacuation ordered for CR 29C and McMurry Ranch Road (33 notifications).

Approximately 2,600 notifications (contacts, not residents) have been sent for evacuations on this fire.

An undetermined number of structures have been damaged or destroyed in Rist Canyon, Paradise Park, Stove Prairie, Poudre Park, Old Flowers, Stratton Park, Kings Canyon and Cloudy Pass. There could be structure damage in other locations, including Soldier Canyon and Mill Canyon. No details about the structures are available. Firefighters will continue to evaluate the area as it is safe to do so.

Evacuations have happened quickly.

Other Global Disasters, Significant Events

  • The U.S. Gulf Coast.Parts of Alabama and Florida received up to 2 feet of rain between midnight Saturday and 8:00am Monday, which caused severe flooding and extensive damage.
    • Numerous communities from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle have already been inundated, with the worst of flooding yet to follow as runoff continues and rivers begin rising.
    • Additional rainfall is expected in the area again today.
  • China.

Mustard Gas-like smog  envelops Wuhan, capital of central China’s Hubei Province, June 11, 2012. (Xinhua/Xiao Yijiu)

A flooded village in Huitong County, central China’s Hunan Province. Torrential rains pummeled southern China. As of noon Monday, 112,000 people had been affected and 26,000 people evacuated in Huitong county, which borders Guizhou province. The county is believed to have suffered direct economic losses of 230 million yuan. (Xinhua/Zhao Haibo. 

Related Links

Global Disasters: Links, Forecasts and Background

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Fire Surrounds Los Alamos Nuke Lab

Posted by feww on June 29, 2011

LANL shuts down supercomputers as fire advances

Las Conchas fire explodes to more than 70,000 acres, attacking south and west of Los Alamos

The massive blaze has destroyed at least a dozen homes in Los Alamos County so far, officials said.

Meantime,  The Los Alamos National Lab (LANL) said it had shut down two of its largest supercomputers, as the massive blaze continued to burn nearby.

A team of Los Alamos employees have reportedly conducted preliminary analysis on air samples taken near the nuke lab on Tuesday.

“There is no additional material in the samples from lab activities or from our waste-management activities.”Said the lab director Charles McMillan.

In 2000, after Cerro Grande fire broke out, Los Alamos employees detected elevated levels of radioactive radon gas.

Las Conchas Fire map

Las Conchas Fire map June 29, 2011. Click image to enlarge. Original Map (PDF)

Las Conchas Fire Progression Map June 28, 2011. Click image to enlarge.

Flames above Los Alamos.
Photo taken by Los Alamos National Laboratory on June 28, 2011. Some rights reserved

Volcanic Like Smoke Billowing out of Santa Fe National Forest. This image showing the Las Conchas wildfire raging in the Jemez Mountains of the Santa Fe National Forest in north-central New Mexico the was taken by a crew member aboard the ISS on June 27. The fire is  burning just southwest of LANL. Source: NASA.

Fire Summary:

  • Name: Las Conchas Fire
  • Date Started: 1 p.m., 6/26/2011
  • Location: Approximately 12 miles southwest of Los Alamos off NM 4 at mile marker 35
  • Fuels: Mixed Conifer, Ponderosa Pine. Fuel moisture is extremely low.
  • Cause: Unknown – under investigation [The fire was reportedly ignited by a fallen power line]
  • Size: 69,555 acres based on 06/29 infrared data
  • Percent Contained: 3%
  • Residences Destroyed: 12

Fire Update [from InciWeb]

Area Command Team 1 (Dan Oltrogge, Area Commander) and an additional Type 1 Incident Management Team (Dugger Hughes, Incident Commander) in-briefed with host agencies late yesterday. Firefighting efforts were broken in two zones. Rienarz’s Type 1 Incident Management Team will manage the north zone of the fire and Hughes’s Incident Management Team will manage the south zone. Crews are dealing with extremely dry fuels and potential threats from thunderstorms and dry lightning strikes.

Northwest – Firefighters scouted a potential fireline and burnout opportunities, including opportunities for aerial ignition on peaks to help moderate fire intensity along Valles Caldera 2 Road and Valles Caldera 9 Road. Firefighters will also continue to maintain a fire line using mop up methods along 4 Road to prevent the fire from spreading within the Valles Caldera National Preserve. Fire line construction will also continue toward the Cerro Pelado area.

East – Firefighters will be working along SR 501 and Ski Area Road on through Highway 4 to curb the fire from spreading east. Structural protection continues in Bandelier National Monument. Crews will also be working spot fires along Ski Area Road. A structure implementation plan was set in place for the Pajarito Ski Area. The Los Alamos Fire Department was brought in to provide added resources in the area.

A Sandoval County Assessment team is completing a post fire damage assessment. Their current assessment has documented twelve residences destroyed.

South side – The fire is backing down several drainages. Firefighters are scouting for potential fireline south of the fire and monitor the Alamo and Hondo Canyons, as well as the Sanchez and Capulin Canyon.

Current Evacuations:

City of Los Alamos – The acting Los Alamos County Administrator issued an evacuation order for the city of Los Alamos. The Cities of Gold hotel in Pojoaque is offering shelter services for evacuating residents of Los Alamos. Los Alamos evacuees are advised against sheltering in White Rock, although White Rock is not at risk. White Rock is currently under a voluntary evacuation.

The Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Humane Society and the Espanola Valley Humane Society will be taking in dogs, cats and other small household pets to help those displaced by the Las Conches Fire. They are also collecting names for those willing to host animals. For more information, please contact: Santa Fe (503) 983-4309, or Espanola (505) 753-8662.

The American Red Cross in New Mexico activated two official shelters in northern New Mexico: the Santa Claran Hotel & Casino in Espanola and the Cities of Gold Casino near Santa Fe. The American Red Cross (505) 265-8514 or 800-560-2302.

Pre-Evacuation Alert

If you live near the fire or near the Forest, you should always be ready for emergencies including evacuations, the three-step process is easy to remember and implement:

· Ready – Take personal responsibility and prepare before the threat of a wildland fire so your home is ready in case of a fire. Create defensible space by clearing brush away from your home. Use fire-resistant landscaping and harden your home with fire-safe construction measures. Assemble emergency supplies and belongings in a safe spot. Plan escapes routes. Make sure all those residing within the home know the plan of action.

· Set – Act immediately. Pack your vehicle with your emergency items. Remember your six P’s: people, personal computers, pets, pills, papers and pictures. Stay aware of the latest news and information on the fire from local media and your local fire department.

· Go – Leave early! Follow your personal action plan. Doing so will not only support your safety, but will allow firefighters to best maneuver resources to combat the fire.


NM 4 is closed at Jemez Falls Campground and at NM 501. NM 502 westbound into Los Alamos is now closed to all motorists. Access is controlled and limited to official traffic until further notification.

For a recorded update on evacuations and road closures, call a Santa Fe National Forest toll-free line: 877-971-FIRE.

Bureau of Land Management: The Bureau of Land Management’s Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument will close to the public. The monument isn’t currently threatened, but the road to the monument will be used by firefighters to access the southern flank of the fire.

Bandelier National Monument: The Bandelier National Monument will be closed indefinitely.

Los Alamos National Labs: The Los Alamos National Laboratory will be closed due to the fire. All laboratory facilities will be closed for all activities, and nonessential employees are directed to remain off site. Employees that are considered nonessential should not report to work unless specifically directed by their line managers. Employees should check local news sources, the LANL Update Hotline (505) 667-6622 and the LANL web page for updates. All radioactive and hazardous material is appropriately accounted for and protected. LANL staff is coordinating the on-site response and supporting the county and federal fire response.

Safety Message

The wildfire and burnout operations will continue to produce heavy smoke. Residents with respiratory problems in the path of smoke may want to consider relocating temporarily until smoke dissipates. Motorists should exercise caution due to reduced visibility.

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