USA — Idaho National Laboratory and Bureau of Land Management firefighters are fighting a wildland fire which began at the INL nuclear research and and radioactive materials storage facility Wednesday.
As of 12 noon Thursday, the blaze had consumed 1,400 acres between two large facilites on the 890-acre INL site, the Materials and Fuels Complex and the Central INL Facilities, and was 80 percent contained.
Only five percent of the INL site is developed with research buildings and industrial complexes. The rest of the area is covered in sagebrush.
INL spokesman John Walsh said today that the fire was reprted at 2 p.m. at mile marker 268 on the north side of Highway 20 between Arco and Idaho Falls. He said flame retardant was dropped by BLM aircraft helped to bring the blaze under control, which was 80 percent contained by 8:30 p.m.
“We have a line around the fire right now,” said Walsh at noon on Thursday. “The cause is thought to be human in origin. The skies were clear of clouds and lightning.”
A Department of Energy News release issued yesterday stated that all INL field workers in the immediate area have been evacuated and that the fire is creating no threat to INL buildings. at that time the blaze was 300 acres in size.
INL personnel are investigating the cause of the blaze.