Digital News Report – The Los Alamos National Laboratory is being threatened by the Las Conchas wildfire. This has prompted the facility to take plans to safeguard the facilities hazardous and radioactive materials, as well as to close down regular operations. The Governor of New Mexico, Susanna Martinez, visited the laboratory slightly before midnight on June 26.
Martinez said in a statement, “Our top priority is the safety of the people of our communities and property. I’m grateful to the state and local crews who are working so hard to keep damage to a minimum.”
The laboratory will be closed on Monday. The Las Conchas fire has been stalled from entering the facilities property with the winds blowing in a northwest direction. There have been safety precautions taking place. The facility operators have cut the natural gas supply to the southwest area of the property. They also have secured any hazardous or radioactive materials.
Lab Director Charles McMillan said in a statement, “It’s been a very long night for the fire crews. There has been an outpouring of support from the region, the state, and the federal government and for that we are profoundly grateful.”
The Las Conchas fire started approximately at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 26, 2011. The fire was started on private land around 12 miles southwest of Los Alamos. It is estimated by fire officials as having burned 43,597 acres so far and currently has 0 percent containment. Fire officials currently investigating the cause of the fire.
The Bandelier National Monument will also be closed until further notice due to the fire.
By: Victoria Brown