We Must Stop the Building of a Plutonium Bomb Factory in Fire Country
Factory in Fire Country
Saturday 2 July 2011
by: Subhankar Banerjee, Climate Storytellers  | Op-Ed
The Las Conchas Fire in New Mexico is still burning. It is rapidly growing by the day. On June 29, I did a phone interview with Jay Coghlan, executive director of Nuclear Watch New Mexico and his colleague Scott Kovac; and sit down conversation with Marian Naranjo, a prominent native American elder and activist from the Santa Clara Pueblo and Joni Arends, executive director of Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety. As you’ll see, the Las Conchas Fire has woken us up. It is time we learn from this deadly fire and stop a proposed plutonium bomb factory at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). I’ll tell you how your voice is crucial in this matter, but first here is an update on the fire that is also burning Santa Clara Pueblo lands.
On the morning of June 28, when I posted my first piece on the subject , the Las Conchas Fire had burned about 50,000 acres. As of Thursday 10:30pm it has burned 93,678 acres, 322 acres shy of being the largest fire in New Mexico history—by the time this piece is posted it’ll be the largest. Mother Nature is in a frenzied state right now and breaking record after record on wildfires across states. Last month Arizona broke their record with the Wallow Fire.
If you’re not right underneath the smoke it is difficult to get a sense of the scale of a large fire. NASA’s Aqua satellite flew over the area on June 28. Following day NASA released a photo of smoke over land that you can check out here . Last year smoke over Moscow made international headlines. Siberia was ablaze also and NASA released a fascinating image of smoke over Siberia and the adjacent Arctic Seas, also taken by the Aqua satellite that you can check out here . According to NASA the fires over central Russia, Siberia and Canada during summer 2010 created an enormous poisonous ring  around the northern hemisphere. Unfortunately it didn’t get coverage in the US press and media. Nevertheless very large fires send a lot of toxic pollutants into the air that are hazardous to human health.