I’ve spent the past couple of hours trying to get up to date on latest developments with the Las Conchas fire, which has caused the evacuation of Los Alamos (the town) and the shutdown of Los Alamos (the lab). Tonight I found a few particularly eye-opening photos on the website for KOB TV. (The photos were uploaded to their website by generous amateur photographers, without attribution. So the photos weren’t taken by me. I couldn’t have taken them if I wanted to: I’ve been ordered to stay home, and the road is closed anyway. I’d attribute them properly if I knew whom to credit.)
Anyway, if you take a look at these photos, you get a poor-man’s time lapse of the fire approaching LANL. More specifically, you can watch the fire approaching the building where I work.
First, a wide shot from far away. This shows some of the landscape. It appears to have been taken from the east or northeast, looking toward the heart of the lab. (The fire is approaching LANL from the southeast.) If you look in the lower right corner, there is a rectangular green building just below the leftmost firelight. That’s where I work.
(Incidentally, I don’t know the times when these photos were taken. So I’m making a guess as to the sequence here.)
Next, here’s a photo from a little closer in. I work in that round green building smack-dab in the center of the photo. My guess, based on the foreground buildings and the orientation of things here, is that this was taken from town, across Los Alamos (?) canyon. (I can’t keep the canyon names straight. There are a lot of them.)
Okay, now a much closer shot, both in terms of zoom and the position of the fire. If you compare this photo with the one above, and pay attention to the contours of the landscape behind my building, you can see that the firelight is one ridge closer than before. Yikes!
The stair-stepped green building is where I work. If you knew where to look, you could see my office window.
And a final shot, closer still:
The beige building to the right of mine houses the cafeteria, where I enjoy delicious green chile chicken enchiladas. In this and the previous photo, if you know where to look, you an also see the parking ramp that I use on the rare days I drive to work rather than taking the bus.
Wow. Surreal and horrifying. I really hope everybody is okay.