The news out of Los Alamos is still positive. Positive in a relative sense, of course. Nearly 70,000 acres have burned (compared to 44,000 eleven years ago), but the growth of the fire is slowing down, and fire crews have still managed to keep it from entering the town. The winds have worked in our favor, but they’re strong, and a shift in the wrong direction could be disastrous. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
I turned on the national news briefly tonight for the first time since the fires started. The sensational aspect of the fire is at the forefront, with reporting reflecting almost a perverse glee at the thought of the fire getting its hot little fingers on anything remotely nuclear. However, except for a brief excursion across the Lab’s southern border, crews have kept the fire off lab land, and away from contaminants.
My congregation continues to check in from various locations. Many, like myself, were already out of town for other reasons when the fire started. At last count, I think our little church community is spread out over seven states. There are probably more.
Communities around New Mexico have opened hearts and homes to evacuees. Within the first twenty-four hours, my wife and I had received two offers of places to stay in Albuquerque. Several of the pueblo casino hotels have opened rooms (and in some cases offered meals) free of charge. The high school in the town of Pojoaque has become a makeshift post office, with mail available for pickup in the school gymnasium. The Baptist church in White Rock has been running nightly movies.
Los Alamos residents have in turn been sending care packages back up the hill for the crews fighting the fire.
Tonight, my family is in New Hampshire, visiting my in-laws. My head and heart, however, are still back home. I want to do, and there really isn’t much to do but stay in touch with the congregation and hope everyone gets home safe to a town that’s (relatively) undamaged.