Los Alamos Fire Continues To Rage
MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:
NPR's Ted Robbins reports on concerns that the fire could reach barrels of nuclear waste that are stored there.
TED ROBBINS: The Las Conchas fire is burning trees and dry brush with high winds pushing it along. Fire spokesman Terry McDermott says it's moving so fast, he's trying to keep up with it.
TERRY MCDERMOTT: I'm just looking at our latest map here. We're just trying to figure it out. As you might expect, this is a pretty fluid situation.
ROBBINS: In 2000, a devastating fire hit the nearby town of Los Alamos, destroying hundreds of homes, but no radiation was released from the lab. Still, between then and now, Terry McDermott says the lab acted.
MCDERMOTT: The labs took extreme measures to not only thin their areas so it would be easier to firefight, but they removed a great deal of the materials that would've caused some concerns.
ROBBINS: Los Alamos lab spokesman Kevin Roark says the barrels are under domes, and fire won't get near them because there's nothing to burn around them.
KEVIN ROARK: The grounds around these storage domes are completely devoid of vegetation, and most are covered with gravel or asphalt or bare earth.
ROBBINS: Roark also says the barrels themselves can withstand fire, and there's a sprinkler system.
ROARK: And the fire department also has the capability, should there be an imminent threat, which there isn't, but should there be one, the fire department has the capability to go in and spray fire-retardant foam.
ROBBINS: Ted Robbins, NPR News.
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