Very Serious”: Wildfires burn close to US nuclear site — ‘Red Flag Warning’ issued — FEMA: “Fire threatened such destruction as would constitute a major disaster” — Largest wildfire in country (VIDEO)
Published: August 3rd, 2016 at 5:17 pm ET
NPR, Aug 3, 2016 (emphasis added): Washington Fire Crews Fight To Keep Buffer Between Wildfire, Nuclear Reactor — Officials from the Hanford nuclear reservation and Energy Northwest have been meeting with fire managers in southeast Washington state Tuesday. The nearby Range 12 Fire has grown to more than 177,000 acres and high winds are predicted this evening. Fire managers are very serious about keeping the Range 12 Fire off the central portion of the Hanford nuclear site and away from the Northwest’s only nuclear reactor… Energy Northwest spokesman John Dobken called the fire’s distance from the reactor a “non-issue,”… However, fire crews were still active on Rattlesnake Tuesday. Helicopters won’t be able to fly if gusts reach 20-30 miles per hour as predicted.
KEPR, Aug 2, 2016: The fire that began on the Yakima Training Center Saturday night and burned into Benton and Grant Counties over the weekend has ballooned to over 175,000 acres according to fire crews… The Range 12 fire [is] burning close to Hanford… The Northwest Incident Command team managing the firefighting efforts said [the blaze] is getting dangerously close to West Richland… A red flag warning is in place until 8 p.m. Tuesday night… Fire officials said the Red Flag Warning is causing concern for controlling containment lines around the blaze… As of Tuesday the Range 12 blaze stretched… from the Yakima Training Center toward the Hanford Reservation… Randall Rishe with BLM [Bureau of Land Management] said at this time they do not have a clear estimate of when the fire will be fully contained.
NPR, Aug 2, 2016: The Country’s Largest Wildfire Is Burning In Washington State… About 400 firefighters, three helicopters and 34 engines are fighting it. Some firefighters and land managers say they’re on edge because of predicted gusty winds and a red flag warning. The breeze is already kicking up, and firefighters worry that burned areas could pop up and jump the established fire lines. Crews set a backfire Sunday night on Rattlesnake Mountain to keep the Range 12 fire from burning contaminated areas of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation… [This] is the largest wildfire on a list of fires managed by government agencies.
KIRO, Aug 1, 2016: FEMA funds to help fight Benton County wildfire — A wildfire burning toward the Hanford nuclear reservation scorched about 110 square miles of brush and grass Monday as it spread… [FEMA] has authorized the use of federal funds to help with firefighting costs for the South Ward Gap Fire burning in Benton County, Washington. FEMA Region X Regional Administrator Kenneth D. Murphy determined that the fire threatened such destruction as would constitute a major disaster…
Seattle Times, Aug 2, 2016: Winds whip up wildfires; one blaze bearing down on Hanford site… winds pushed the Range 12 fire toward the Hanford Nuclear Reservation… Rishe said the fire Sunday ripped through grass, sagebrush and cheatgrass with ferocity… Crews are racing to put the fire down before winds make the situation more dangerous.
Seattle Times, Aug 2, 2016: Wildfire near Hanford site larger than first thought; high winds a concern — The Range 12 fire, near the Hanford nuclear site, is now 175,000 acres — much bigger than crews first realized… More than 400 firefighters are working the Range 12 fire, which is west of the Hanford nuclear site. Rishe said “there’s very low concern along Highway 240,” the barrier to the nuclear site. But, “it’s all contingent on this wind event.”
Tri-City Herald, Aug 2, 2016: Fire near Hanford much larger than thought… The estimated size of the fire that burned… toward the Hanford nuclear reservation has more than doubled to 273 square miles… A red flag fire warning was issued for the Mid-Columbia on Tuesday… The incident command team was concerned that established fire perimeter lines could be threatened… Crews have come from as far away as Medford, Ore., to help fight the fire.