A raging wildfire threatened to release plutonium and uranium from the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
While the fire has burned areas polluted in the past with radioactive waste, firefighters have been heroically battling to keep the blaze away from the lab grounds itself.
With help from rain, they appear to have largely succeeded (with the exception of some radiation released when radioactive vegetation was burned), although a new one-acre blaze broke out at a sensitive part of the lab. Officials blamed a squirrel.
As Reuters reports:
A squirrel sparked a small blaze on lab property on Saturday when it touched a transformer. That fire, which measured about an acre, was quickly extinguished, the lab said in a statement.
Whether or not a squirrel – or the nearby wildfire – caused the blaze at the lab, our deep gratitude to the brave men on the front line of the fire. You guys are heroes, who helped prevent a huge potential disaster.
And to the managers of Los Alamos: secure the radioactive drums (stored in canvas and plastic tents) and clean up the radioactive waste from the surrounding canyons, you knuckleheads.