"A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men
from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
(Thomas Jefferson)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Update on New Mexico Fire Near Los Alamos Labs.

This is the latest update on the ongoing fire that is being pushed by 60 mph winds which has caused the evacuation of the 13,000 residents of the town of Los Alamos after the fire crossed the nearby Jemez Mountains.  Los Alamos is the home of the Department of Energy's Los Alamos Nuclear Lab where some 20,000 barrels of plutonium-bearing waste is stored in Area G waiting to be transported to long-term storage in southern New Mexico at the Carlsbad, NM, Waste Isolation Pilot Project site . Latest reports had fire 2 miles from the lab's Area G, and the winds blowing 60 mph can cause the fire to travel rapidly the two miles through the extremely dry areas.

The bulk of the lab's stockpile of highly-radioactive material is stored in structures specifically designed to withstand fire, lab officials say.  If the fire gets to the labs, this will be the 2nd time in 11 years it has happened.  Today teams from the National Nuclear Safety Administration are expected to arrive on-site  to help deal with any releases that might occur if the fire reaches the lab.

For those on the east coast who haven't seen tumbleweed burn, you cannot imagine how fast it can explode and set off a huge fire.  Light a match to a tumbleweed and see it in ashes in seconds with sparks flying everywhere.  Imagine a whole area of tumbleweed and the dry cedar (juniper back east), then add the 60 mph wind and any type of fire will soon spread quickly and become uncontrollable as the fire starts making its own wind inside the fire.  It is a very dangerous situation during the summer months and why there is usually a ban on open burning but some people ignore the law and burn anyway.

Because controlled burning of brush has been put off limits due to the environmentalists, the fires have grown over the years as they rapidly burn through the brush that has accumulated.  The environmentalists who want to protect various species have ended up with species' habitats being destroyed for miles and miles in a very hot fire that will grow into a huge fire storm compared to when they used to do controlled burns to get rid of the brush.  The lack of common sense in the environmental community is shocking.

A conservationist knows how to take care of the land for the benefit of all compared to the environmentalist who will put animal creatures over man including with drinking water.  Man and creatures can live together very easily when there is a balance, but balance is not a word that environmentalists want to hear.

We can only hope that this fire is brought under control very quickly and people can return to their homes and the Lab is safe.  You just never know which way the fire is going to burn if the winds shift going through the mountain passes.   This is a beautiful area of New Mexico as you drive I-25 north toward Colorado from Sante Fe and now the vegetation is  destroyed.  There is one thing we have noticed while living in the west and that is how green the ground looks in the spring after the winter snow melt compared to the trees that are blackened .  Nature has a way of rejuvenating itself starting with the grass on ground which should show people that controlled burns will never hurt the environment as much as these huge firestorms that destroy property and animals as it races across the landscape.
Posted at 01:36 PM ET, 06/28/2011Los Alamos nuclear lab to remain closed as New Mexico wildfire nears 
By Sarah Anne Hughes
A time exposure of the Las Conchas fire taken late Monday night in Los Alamos. (Pat Vasquez-Cunningham - AP/Albuquerque Journal) 
As the Las Conchas wildfire continues to burn in New Mexico, officials from the Los Alamos National Laboratory say the radioactive and nuclear materials stored there are safe. 
A small fire broke out Monday on the nuclear laboratory’s property near Technical Area 49, a site formerly used for radioactive explosives testing and now used for training purposes, but it was quickly contained, according to a U.S. Forest Service press release. “About one acre burned and the Lab has detected no off-site releases of contamination,” the release said. The lab will remain closed to all non-essential employees on Wednesday. 
The wildfire has burned an estimated 49,000 acres of land south and west of the lab, according to the Forest Service. Los Alamos’s 12,000 residents are now under a mandatory evacuation order. 
The lab will hold a press conference with public safety officials Tuesday afternoon. According to a press release, no fires burned on lab property Monday night and all hazardous materials are “accounted for and protected.” 
Glenn Walp, a former Pennsylvania State Police commissioner and author of “Implosion at Los Alamos,” told ABC News that “potential is high for a major calamity if the fire would reach” the area where “approximately 20,000 barrels of nuclear waste” are stored. 
Excerpt:  Read More at Washington Post

No comments: