(Photo: Reuters/Craig Fritz)
Los Alamos National Laboratory in north-central New Mexico is safe for now from the Las Conchas fire, which was crouching at about a mile from the lab’s southwestern boundary on Monday night.
The famed Los Alamos National lab was a central part of the Manhattan Project, which developed the first atomic bomb, during World War II. The lab, which still houses the U.S. military’s nuclear research, reported on its website Monday evening that fire crews contained a spot fire in a remote area of the lab. The blaze was brought under control after burning about one acre of the 25,600-acre property.
“No other fires are currently burning on Lab property, no facilities face immediate threat, and all nuclear and hazardous materials are accounted for and protected,” said the Los Alamos National Laboratory in a statement.
The lab, however, will remain closed Tuesday.
New Mexico’s Las Conchas wildfire began on Sunday at about 1 p.m., approximately 12 miles southwest of the city of Los Alamos. The fire has burned 43,597 acres and is 0 percent contained, according to the latest update on InciWeb, which tracks wildfires and other natural disasters. It has burned at least 30 homes and buildings.
Hot temperatures, low humidity, and high winds are contributing to the intensity and rapid growth of the Las Conchas wildfire. On Monday, about 8,000 residents from Los Alamos County were evacuated. They join about 3,000 other residents who voluntarily evacuated on Sunday before the order.
Smoke from the wildfire can reportedly be seen as far away as Santa Fe, which is about 30 miles away from Los Alamos, N.M.