--2 Back burns ignited at Los Alamos National Lab's western corner
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Back burns ignited at Los Alamos National Lab's western corner

Firefighters are on the scene, according to a source

June 29, 2011, 4:00 pm
By Joey Peters

Back burns have been ignited to clear fire fuel at Los Alamos National Lab.

The most recent Las Conchas Fire map shows red spots, meaning high temperatures, in the Lab's Technical Area 16. According to a press release from Nuclear Watch New Mexico, TA-16 has a tritium facility and a few areas with high explosives residues. Its major facilities have already been cleared of much of the fire fuel, according to the release.

Greg Mello, executive director of the Los Alamos Study Group, says the Lab told him there were spot fires in the area.

"A lot of clearing is taking place so it's difficult to form a fire," Mello tells SFR. "I'm inclined to mostly believe them."

Firefighters are on the scene, he adds.

SFR couldn't reach LANL this afternoon.

From Nuclear Watch New Mexico:

An alert:

Please find an attached screen grab of the most recent Las Conchas Fire map.
The relevant point is that it looks like fire has been detected in LANL's
Technical Area 16 at the far western corner of the Lab. TA-16 has a major
tritium facility and a few locations heavily contaminated with high
explosives residues. TA-16 is fairly well forested, but its major facilities
have been mostly cleared of nearby combustibles.

One can also see that the NW corner (TA-3) of the Lab and the Los Alamos
townsite now appear to be under greater threat. TA-3 is the most
employee-populated Technical Area and has many major facilities. However, it
is not forested around those facilities.

Data is from satellite infrared surveys completed twice a day, which is
overlain on a Google Earth map. The apparent detection time of this screen
grab is 9:20 MT June 29. However this wasn't posted by the US Forest Service
until ~1:30 MT. Detections are said to be 70% confident (for example, smoke
can obscure precise locations).

Nuclear Watch New Mexico has a blog piece for how to get and use the updated
fire maps.


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