NM wildfire forces evacuations, gov't lab closure - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

NM wildfire forces evacuations, gov't lab closure

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LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) — A fast-moving wildfire forced officials at the Los Alamos National Laboratory to close the site Monday as residents nearby evacuated their homes.

The fire has grown to between 6 and 9 square miles of mixed conifer and ponderosa pine and firefighters have no containment. The blaze started at around 1 p.m. Sunday on private land about 12 miles southwest of the town of Los Alamos.

Between 50 and 100 rural homes were under mandatory evacuations, and Los Alamos County authorities have issued voluntary evacuation orders for both Los Alamos and White Rock.

The laboratory has activated its emergency operations center. Officials said in a news release that all radioactive and hazardous material was being protected and the fire had not yet crossed onto the laboratory property.

The fire is 1 mile southwest of the boundary of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The government site was founded during World War II to develop the world's first nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, the biggest wildfire in Arizona history is now 82 percent contained after burning through 538,000 acres in the White Mountains in northeast Arizona. The fire started May 29 and has destroyed 32 homes. It's believed to have been caused by a campfire.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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