U.S. Highway 95 remains closed from Tonopah south to State Route 160 north of Pahrump to severe road damage and the fire at the U.S. Ecology facility outside Beatty, the Nye County Sheriff’s office said in an update at 1:45 p.m.
Other routes closed due to storm damage are Highway 267 to Scotty’s Castle and Death Valley, Highway 373 between Highway 95 and the California state line, Highway 374 to Death Valley, and Bell Vista Road to through traffic trying to get to California.
Traffic from Tonopah to Beatty is limited to residents only, while northbound traffic out of Beatty is open.
While the initial air monitoring survey of US Ecology was free of contaminates, the ground survey results must be reviewed before the the site is opened and Highway 95 reopened to traffic.
The fire at waste disposal facility outside Beatty has been out for “several hours,” and initial monitoring indicates no health risk, according to the general manager of the facility.
The fire adjacent to the US Ecology Nevada’s Treatment Storage and Disposal facility
was reported Sunday at 1 p.m. at one of the closed low level radioactive waste disposal cells, according to General Manager Bob Marchand.
“Our most recent reports indicate the fire is out and initial monitoring on site indicates no health risk,” Marchand said. “No evacuations have been ordered.”
US Ecology will be closed until further notice.
The disposal cells were closed in 1992 and under the control of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services.
Gov. Brian Sandoval’s office, who was alerted to the situation at 5:30 p.m. and is working with Nye County officials and directed multiple state resources to assist at the site.
“I have directed state agencies to mobilize resources and continue working with local authorities,” Sandoval said. “Our top priority is the health and safety of Nevadans and those travelling near the incident site.
An “exclusion zone” around the US Ecology facility was established at the request of the state “until a full assessment can be made and will continue supporting agency efforts as needed.”
Agencies involved include the Department of Public Safety including the Nevada Highway Patrol, state Fire Marshal and Emergency Management Divisions, Department of Health and Human Services, Nevada National Guard including the Civil Support Team, Nevada Department of Transportation, and Division of Environment Protection.
“The Governor has been in constant contact with state officials, has approved the mobilization of state assistance and resources, and will continue to monitor the developing situation,” the governor’s office said in a statement. “State personnel have activated the state Emergency Operations Center in Carson City and will remain on-site to continue coordinating resources and provide updates.”