Los Alamos National Laboratory is indelibly etched in historical memory as the hatching site of the Manhattan Project, the effort which created the first atomic bomb. The world's largest nuclear weapons arsenal is still located there. Now a raging wildfire has forced the evacuation of the surrounding town of Los Alamos (population 12,000)..
Given the recent Japanese disaster at Fukushima, the fear of course is that a natural disaster can morph into a nuclear one. Firefighters are therefore concentrating on keeping the blaze out of the laboratory. "If it spots on the lab, we'll get really aggressive about putting it out," Los Alamos Fire Chief Doug Tucker said.
The lab itself has been closed by the fire that began Sunday. This is not the first time that fire has devastated the area. More than a decade ago, hundreds of homes and buildings in the area were destroyed.
Despite the natural apprehensions, officials assured that both the lab buildings as well as the nuclear waste dump sites were designed to withstand worse fires than the current one..