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New Mexico Science

Science, climate, weather and water from a New Mexico perspective

BREAKING: Los Alamos Residents Can Go Home, Lab to Open Wednesday

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As of 8 a.m. today (Sunday 7/3/2011) roadblocks around Los Alamos are being opened and residents can return to their homes. In addition, the lab has announced that it will open Wednesday.

From a statement just issued by the County:

Los Alamos County Police Chief Wayne Torpy announces that all normal access points to the Los Alamos county townsite are open at 8 a.m.  today with the following two exceptions:  State Road 4 remains closed West of Monterey Drive South, and all access points to the Jemez Mountains to and from Los Alamos County remain closed.

Torpy said, “We urge residents, to be patient, to be aware that public safety and other workers are still engaged in recovery efforts, and that smoke in the community can still reduce visibility for motorists.”

From the lab:

Los Alamos National Laboratory has announced it will re-open to employees on Wednesday, July 6, 2011, after being closed for more than a week during the Las Conchas fire, the largest wildfire in New Mexico history.

Laboratory Director Charles McMillan today issued a memo to Laboratory employees outlining the re-opening plan.

“Los Alamos National Laboratory appears to have escaped serious damage from the Las Conchas fire,” McMillan said in the memo. “We are grateful for the tremendous efforts of emergency responders that helped spare the Lab and the town of Los Alamos. I wish to extend my deepest thanks to everyone who has helped so far, including all Lab employees who have patiently persevered during this emergency. However, as we begin preparations to re-open the Laboratory, we must remain cognizant of the fact that many members of our workforce may still be affected by this emergency while the Las Conchas fire continues to threaten other communities in the region.”

The Laboratory’s post-fire-danger recovery plan was carefully coordinated with Los Alamos County to ensure that the community of Los Alamos is fully habitable before the Laboratory opening. McMillan stated on Saturday that he expected it to take two full days before employees could be fully integrated back into their workplaces after the community was re-opened to evacuees.

Prior to employees reporting to work on Wednesday, Laboratory facility personnel are checking all of the more than 2,000 buildings located across the Laboratory’s 36-square-mile campus to ensure that all employee workplaces are safe for occupancy.

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