Thursday, June 30, 2011

Los Alamos Fire 2011 [Las Conchas Fire] Update

Here is the most recent news sent out about the fire. It's good news!!! Keep praying though :)

Los Alamos County Fire Chief Doug Tucker said today (Wednesday, June 29) that preventive burns just outside the western boundary of the Laboratory have been successful.

“In my professional opinion, there is a less than 10% chance of spot fires on Lab property this evening, diminishing tomorrow,” Tucker said during a briefing to emergency managers.

Firefighters began setting “back burns” on the west side of New Mexico State Route 501 around mid-morning. Those operations were declared complete by evening. The burns were intended to remove available fuel from the Las Conchas Fire, which has consumed more than 60,000 acres on two sides of the 37-square-mile LANL site but only one acre of the Lab itself.

“What I witnessed today was an incredibly professional job by men and women who are risking their lives to save our community and this Laboratory,” said LANL Director Charles McMillan. “I could feel the heat of the fire on my face as I watched from the roof of our Emergency Operations Center.”

 The Laboratory has posted video of the preventive burn to a new YouTube page at

No wild fires are currently burning on Lab property. All of the Laboratory’s nuclear and hazardous materials, including its waste and environmental remediation sites, are safe, accounted for, and protected.

Earlier today, the Lab announced it would remain closed through Friday, July 1.

 Laboratory employees seeking further information about the Las Conchas fire should check local news sources, Los Alamos County Emergency Radio on AM 1610, the LANL Update Hotline (505-667-6622) and the LANL web page ( for updates.

The Laboratory has posted a number of pictures to its Flickr photo site including images of the deployed AIRNET units.

A Joint Information Center has been established at the Regional Development Corporation, 2209 Miguel Chavez Rd. in Santa Fe.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sunset through the Smoke

Jack and I went up on a ridge near our house and sat and watched the sunset last night through the smoke from Los Alamos. Unfortunately the smoke was too thick to see the sun go all the way down but we took what we could get.

You can click the picture to make it bigger.

More Los Alamos Fire 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

LA Fire Update

An update from our friend Mike who is weathering it out up in his house in Los Alamos.:

Psalm 19:14 reminds us "Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in the sight, O Lord, my Rock and Redeemer"

As day 3 of the Las Conchas fire descends into evening, the winds seem to have calmed and the smoke seems to have lifted a little bit (or I am just used to it). Originally I thought today might be the turning point as the fire was moving down Los Alamos Canyon towards the town and Lab, but it didn't move as quickly as anticipated and so it appears that the town is okay for the time being.

The plan for fighting the fire this evening is to create a fire break between town and the approaching fire by bull dozing a wide swath and then starting a back fire. Please keep the firefighters in your prayers as many of them are exhausted, and ask God for mercy. Although today was about 10 degrees cooler than yesterday, it is still dry, dry, dry. Pray that the backfire will not backfire (literally). Pray that all those working to respond to this fire would rest well and be strengthened.

While it is tempting to worry and be on edge, especially as we wonder what is going on, know that you can trust in the One who is our Rock and Redeemer. May our words and even our thoughts bring glory to Him. May His peace guard your hearts and minds.

Los Alamos Fire 2011 [Las Conchas Fire]

So, many of you have probably heard about the fire just outside of Los Alamos, NM. Jack and I both work in Los Alamos as well as attend church up there, go to small group up there and pretty much all of the friends we have in NM live in LA. I just wanted to give a quick update on what's going on (plan on continuing updating as we get more info) and post some pictures as some people have asked for them.

Background: Sunday, June 26th at 1pm the fire was started in the Jemez District of the Santa Fe National Forest approx. 3 miles south of Los Alamos. While the cause of the fire is still under investigation we have heard rumors that it was started either by a downed power line or possibly a residential fire. If we find out what started it, I'll post that. Unfortunately we have had very little rain fall since January (about 0.5 inches) so everything around Santa Fe/Los Alamos/White Rock is like a large tinder box. The fire started around 1pm and by 7pm had already burned about 4000+ acres. We headed up to LA that night to help friends pack up some things and/or haul stuff down to our place in Santa Fe. It was crazy seeing the fire by night, how eery it looked. Monday I got up and headed to work in Los Alamos, Jack was off because they closed the National Lab due to the proximity of the fire, by that time it was about 12 miles from Lab property. Driving up it looked like the fire hadn't gotten much bigger as far as the smoke cloud was concerned...boy was I wrong. Over night it had grown 10x bigger having burned over 40,000 acres! I wondered what would happen throughout the day at work and we were told to go about business as usual, reassure our patients they would be taken care of and that if an evacuation was necessary we would make sure they got out safely. By 12 noon we started smelling smoke throughout the building and by 1pm the orders for the hospital to evacuate came through. We were to send all of our patients to Santa Fe to be cared for in the local hospital there. Thankfully we started our evacuation early because there was a mandatory evacuation of the town of Los Alamos at 3pm, all residents were supposed to be out by 7pm. Before we even got the first patient out of the hospital the air conditioner was cut off because the hospital was starting to get hazy with smoke and breathing was becoming more difficult even for those of us with good lungs! I had to take the stairs a couple of times to help the ER evac some patients and came out coughing and sneezing each time. I got in touch with Jack and he and our good friend Dixon came up to check things out and to drive me home. We left by 3:15pm and took the back route out of town and thankfully everything went really smoothly to get out of town. We were back in Santa Fe by 4pm and calling to check on friends.

Today, Tuesday, June 28th - Today we have seen updates from a friend who decided to stay in Los Alamos to ride out the fire and try to protect some property up there that the fire was coming up the back side of Pajarito Ski Hill which is just above the town, supposedly the fire line was about a 1/2 mile from town. His most recent email read:
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in our time of need.

Thus far the winds appear to be staying the course on direction and have not picked up too much. Temperature is about 85, so not as blistering hot as yesterday. Crews are working in Los Alamos Canyon just above the ice rink to thin out fuel and keep fire from entering town. I haven’t heard of any fires in town or the Lab. We’ve had fire trucks cruising our neighborhood every two hours since noon time, but I haven’t seen even evidence of fire (open flames) approaching, other than the thick smoke.

If the wind holds, maybe they will be able to start getting some containment. Still 0% contained as far as I know.

The view around 4pm from Santa Fe just behind our condo.

The sun was setting just behind the cloud and actually caused a pretty spectacular view.

This is us driving to Dixon's RV park to pick him up to head up to LA to help friends pack up.

While parked at Dixon's RV a huge piece of ash fell on the Flex. It broke up before I could get a good picture, originally it was the size of a big green bean.

Just had to add this because he's so cute :)

This was around 7pm...just a few hours after it started. We are still a good 18 miles from Los Alamos here at Dixon's RV.

The view driving down 502, passing Pojuaque High School, about 14 miles away from Los Alamos.

Even as we drove closer the size of the plume grew as the fire continued to spread.

This was the first view of actual flame as it crested the ridge and was heading toward lab property. Still about 10 miles away from LA.

This is right as you start up the curvy hill road up to Los Alamos, you can see a few people already evacuating at this time. It was still voluntary on Sunday night.

The flames were visible as we came into town, just passing the LA Airport in this shot.

This is near De Colores, a restaurant just on the outskirts of town.

The flames were visible from Trinity Dr. which is one of the 2 main drags through LA. The Lab is in the foreground.

Smoke plume from one of the intersections in LA.

Jack stayed late and took some shots, I rode home around 10pm with a pregnant friend who was a little nervous to evac by herself. Her husband is out of town for a conference this week. Talk about stressed out!

If you zoom in you can actually see the trees burning from top to bottom. The fire leaps from tall tree to tall tree.

I believe the lights in the foreground are Lab property lights.

This is a view of the police check point Jack and Dixon had to go through Monday afternoon to come up and meet me at the hospital.

A string of cars trying to get out LA after the mandatory evacuation was announced.

The helicopter pad at the hospital with smoke behind it...normally you could see towering mountains back there. Hospital to the right.

Me with some co-workers leaving work after successfully evacuating all of our patients. Shew.

The lab, covered in smoke. These are more so we can remember things in case it gets burned, praying it doesn't!!

Everybody heading out of town and off the hill.
As of right now, that's all we know so far, but as we receive updates I will post them on here. Please be praying for rain, for the fire fighters and for protection for the town and lab of Los Alamos. God is sovereign even through disasters such as this and we know that He is in control. We pray for His glory to be magnified through this situation. It has been a blessing to talk to friends from church as they deal with leaving their homes behind. Many have mentioned that this has been a great teaching moment for them to really step back and evaluate what they truly value in this life and to keep an eternal perspective in mind when deciding what is most important to them.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Colorado Trip

This past week/weekend I was able to head up to Colorado to visit my mom and her 6...yes, I said 6, sisters. It was a blast to see them and catch up and hang out. All seven  are wonderful and I always love the time I get to spend with them. There are actually 10 siblings (3 boys) but just the girls go for their annual sister trip every year. I believe this was their 5th annual trip. I was thankful to get to crash in and be a part of their fun traditions. We took a gondola ride up to the top of a mountain and it was extremely windy up there but got some great pictures. Then we headed to dinner at this fun restaurant that only served 2 main meals so we all (except for my Aunt Becky who is on a Vegan diet) got the filet mignon and it was awesome and only $8.95!!! We were shocked at the price but thankful for it! After dinner we headed back to the cabin to lounge and chit chat. Love late night talks with my aunts, they are so entertaining! Friday morning we got up and hung out around the breakfast table talking more and catching up then we got ready to head to The Royal Gorge. It was so cool!! It's this super long and high bridge that you can walk or drive across and it goes over the Arkansas River. We had a good time there and took lots of pictures. Walking across the bridge there flags for each of the 50 states so we had to take pictures in front of Texas of course. Then we took the steepest incline train down into the gorge and took pictures of the river. It was beautiful. Thankful for God's creation and getting to enjoy it with special people.

After spending Friday with the girls I said my good-byes and headed north to Fort Collins, CO to visit my good friend Ashlee. I got in fairly late but we ended up staying up talking until after 1am. It was SO good to catch up with her. She is a missionary with Campus Crusade for Christ and in August will be moving to Argentina. We were roommates in Argentina back from 2004-2005 and she was one of my bridesmaids in our wedding. So thankful for her and our friendship that has lasted these past 7 years across numerous distances which are only about to get longer! We checked out Cheyenne, WY on Saturday (Ashlee had never been to WY before) and she scored some discounted stuff at Sierra Trading Post up there and then we hung out with some Crusade friends for dinner. Sunday we went got up early and met up with our friend Florencia who was a student in the ministry in Argentina when we lived down there. She is living Fort Collins for the summer as staff for an AIA Summer Project (Athletes in Action). She is an amazing runner (training to qualify for the Olympics to represent Argentina) and she loves the Lord. She is the only staff member in Argentina to be working with athletes but she has had the opportunity to share the gospel with many well known athletes down there. So awesome! We enjoyed some coffee together (had mate the day before for about 30 minutes, yay Mate (mah-tay)) and caught up on each others lives. Then it was time for church, then lunch and then I headed home. The drive only took about 6 hrs which wasn't so bad and it sure was pretty going through Colorado.

I'm thankful for the time I had to get up there and see everyone. Jack was a trooper and hung out in NM the whole time working and playing Ultimate Frisbee. I was sure glad to get home and see him after being gone 5 days.

So have you gone on any fun trips lately? Caught up with any long lost friends? Hung out with some crazy fun family?! Let's hear it!

Lining up to get on the Tramway.

The bridge

From youngest to oldest :) Pennie, Emily, Becky, Ronda, Glenda, Correna, Karen

Mom and me on the bridge :)

The girls with the Texas flag on the bridge.

All aboard! Headed up the gondola to the top of the mountain.

It was so windy up top but so pretty, too!

Mom's  pointing out the continental divide.

Straddling the great divide!

See! I really was there!!

Aunt Glenda and I got matching hoodies because it was so cold up there!

Ashlee and I made it to Wyoming!

it was so western...

We loved all the fun boots!!!

Hanging out with Ash and Flor drinking Mate!

Kim, Ash and me before I headed back to NM. Both of these girls are moving to the Tina this year :)

Monday, June 6, 2011

June Desktop Calendar

Sorry this is so late! Hope anyone who enjoys the desktop calendars like I do likes this one, too. It's one of my favorites by far! Happy June to you! It's beautiful weather out here in sunny NM...highs in the 80s, cool breezes, dry air, lows at night in the upper 50s...I'll take it!

Thursday, June 2, 2011


So some things are changing around here...our great friends, Jeremy and Kimi, have moved away :( . It was a sad day but we are excited for what the Lord has in store for them! They have been such a source of encouragement, fun, and spiritual challengers for us and we are so thankful for the time the Lord gave us with them! We will miss our weekly get togethers to discuss D.A. Carson's book, A Call to Spiritual Reformation, and our weekly times of accountability, and the fun times of just popping over to their apartment to hang out, chit-chat, grill-out together, play board games, pray and laugh. We will miss having someone to sit next to in church and to hike with and walk with and do Insanity with ( ;) ), haha. We will miss going to Bobcat Bite and Outback with them. But...God's sovereign plan has them moving to Colorado Springs, CO to work with an apartment ministry up there and also to attend seminary, then to ultimately move back over seas in order to take the gospel to the nations! How awesome is that?! Before they head to CO though they are headed to India to work with students there in order to share the love of Jesus with them before they head home to a nearby "closed" country for the summer. We love seeing how Jeremy and Kimi are so open to follow the Lord in whatever he calls them, in faith, and being ready and willing to go at the drop of a hat. They didn't know until a few weeks before they bought their tickets that they would be headed over there for 2 weeks but they kept praying and seeking the Lord's will and when he said go they said yes! It's been such a faith builder for me to watch their faith acted out in their willingness to drop everything and go. They didn't know where the money would come from or what the time-frame would look like but they were willing and God has provided for them! We love them very much are thankful for how quickly and deeply our friendship grew with them in the short time they lived in NM. Here's to Jeremy and Kimi and to what the Lord has called them to and their example of walking closely with the Lord to serve him and do his will!

Our last day with J&K at Olive Garden after a long, hard day of packing...we were tired, sweaty and feeling like yuck but enjoyed our time together! :)

A small excerpt from an email from Jeremy, please be lifting them up in prayer...praying for you guys! We love you!! :

  Yes, the Lord has opened the doors for us to go to India.  Kimi and I will be going to the Himalaya's.  We will spend about two weeks (June 6-26) in the area I served in from 07-09.  We will get the chance to work with some of the same people I was able to invest in two years ago.  While it will be great to catch up with those I knew before, we want this visit to serve a greater purpose.  We want Jesus to be glorified.  The students there only have a small window of opportunity to hear the gospel before they return to their home country, a "closed" country.  We pray that God would use our time there to further His kingdom.

Which brings me to the reason for writing all of you.  We ask that you pray.  We can look at Paul and see how so often he labored in prayer for others and for the advancement of the kingdom.  Pray with us. 

Pray for our time there, that we would be bold and that God would give us wisdom in sharing with the students.  Pray for the hearts of those we share with, that the seed of the word would take root.  Pray also for Kimi and I, that we would walk worthy of the calling so that the name of Christ would be glorified.  Pray for our health, that the dreaded "Delhi Belly" would not hinder us from spending time and sharing with the students there.