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No 'Immediate Threat' At Los Alamos Nuclear Lab As Wildfire Burns

Flames light the sky near Los Alamos, N.M., early Tuesday, (June 28, 2011). i i

Flames light the sky near Los Alamos, N.M., early Tuesday, (June 28, 2011). Jae C. Hong/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Jae C. Hong/AP
Flames light the sky near Los Alamos, N.M., early Tuesday, (June 28, 2011).

Flames light the sky near Los Alamos, N.M., early Tuesday, (June 28, 2011).

Jae C. Hong/AP

"No facilities face immediate threat, and all nuclear and hazardous materials are accounted for and protected," the Los Alamos National Laboratory reports, even though a wildfire in the area near that nuclear laboratory did touch off a "spot fire" on the facility's property.

"Fire crews have contained" that part of the blaze, the lab says. NPR's Jeff Brady says the facility is closed.

Meanwhile, as The Associated Press reports, 12,500 residents in the area have been evacuated. And, says the AP, "the wildfire has destroyed 30 structures south and west of Los Alamos. It forced the closure of the lab and, for many, stirred memories of a devastating blaze in May 2000 that destroyed hundreds of homes and buildings in town." About 44,000 acres have been burned so far.

Some of the firefighters on the scene just wrapped up battling huge wildfires in neighboring Arizona.

The AP has also filed a video report.

Associated Press/YouTube

Los Alamos National Laboratory describes itself as being "a premier national security research institution, delivering scientific and engineering solutions for the nation's most crucial and complex problems. Our primary responsibility is ensuring the safety, security, and reliability of the nation's nuclear deterrent."

It "came into existence in early 1943 for a single purpose: to design and build an atomic bomb."

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