Dramatic Photos of NM Fires From Space, Mandatory Evacuation of City of Los Alamos

A crew member aboard the International Space Station, flying at an altitude of approximately 235 statute miles on June 27, 2011, exposed this still photograph of a major fire in the Jemez Mountains of the Santa Fe National Forest in north-central New Mexico. The fire is just southwest of Los Alamos National Laboratories.
New Mexico fire

Credit: NASA

NASA’s Terra satellite flew over New Mexico and the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) captured an image on June 27 at 17:40 UTC (1:40 p.m. EDT) that shows the smoke and heat (in red) from the Las Conchas fire near Los Alamos. The smoke from the nearby Pacheco fire (east) is also somewhat visible in the image.

MODIS is an instrument that flies aboard NASA’s Terra satellite and its fire product detects heat signatures that indicate high surface area temperatures. The image also shows the brownish colored smoke blowing to the east and into Texas and Oklahoma.

A Mandatory evacuation has been ordered for residents of Los Alamos, while those in nearby White Rock are under a voluntary evacuation. Cochiti Mesa, Las Conchas, Bandelier National Monument, and campgrounds near the fire were evacuated on Monday, June 27, 2011.

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 Cities of Gold hotel in Pojoaque offers shelter services for evacuating residents of the Los Alamos townsite. Cities of Gold also accepts pets

Many residents remain in White Rock following voluntary evacuations which began Sunday. Los Alamos townsite evacuees are advised against sheltering in White Rock, although White Rock is not at risk. The Cities of Gold hotel in Pojoaque offers shelter services for evacuating residents of the Los Alamos townsite. Cities of Gold also accepts pets. Many residents remain in White Rock following voluntary evacuations which began Sunday. Los Alamos townsite evacuees are advised against sheltering in White Rock, although White Rock is not at risk.

The Cities of Gold hotel in Pojoaque offers shelter services for evacuating residents of the Los Alamos townsite. Cities of Gold also accepts pets. Many residents remain in White Rock following voluntary evacuations which began Sunday. Los Alamos townsite evacuees are advised against sheltering in White Rock, although White Rock is not at risk.

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.

MODIS image of New Mexico fires

This fire now spans 43, 597 acres, according to InciWeb. The “Incident Information System” website reports wildfire conditions throughout the country. Inciweb reported that the fire started on private land is and is burning in the Jemez Ranger District, Santa Fe National Forest; approximately 12 miles southwest of Los Alamos. The fire has threatened structures and power lines. Both power and phone lines are reported down in the area and the fire is currently about one mile southwest of the boundary of the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The Pacheco Fire, located to the east (right) of the Las Conchas fire, has covered 9.927 acres. This fire is also part of the Santa Fe National Forest and located to the northeast of Santa Fe. According to Inciweb, this fire threatens the Santa Fe ski area and watershed, Nambe Pueblo lands, Tesuque Pueblo lands and Tesuque Peak communications site. The smoke from that fire is somewhat obscured by altocumulus clouds (white small rounded clouds).

For updated information on the fire from Inciweb, go to: www.inciweb.org/incident/2385/

NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team. Caption by Rob Gutro, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

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