Wildfire near Los Alamos triggers air monitoring

AP News
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Posted: Jun 28, 2011 1:38 PM
Wildfire near Los Alamos triggers air monitoring

State and federal officials are monitoring air quality around Los Alamos as a wildfire continues to march through the mountains surrounding the northern New Mexico community.

The Las Conchas fire has charred more than 60,000 acres since starting in the Jemez Mountains on Sunday afternoon. The fire has forced evacuations as well as the closure of Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Lab personnel are monitoring the air for radionuclides and particulate matter. The lab also has monitors that can be used to check for possible radiation contamination from the fire.

The New Mexico Environment Department is monitoring the air for radioactive particles and tritium using low-volume air pumps.

The state is also working with the Environmental Protection Agency and the lab to get additional ground-based monitors and an airborne monitor.