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Wildfire at Nevada National Security Site nears a known contamination zone

Updated May 20, 2021 - 5:23 pm

Update: 10 a.m., Friday, May 21

The wildfire burning at the Nevada National Security Site, at its northern section, grew to 17, 680 acres on Friday and is nearing a known contamination area, according to an update on NNSS’ social media. No injuries or damage to structures has been reported by NNSS.

Fire crews from NNSS and the Bureau of Land Management are working to prevent the Cherrywood Fire from reaching the contamination area, according to NNSS’ social media update.

NNSS stated on social media on Friday, “If the fire enters this contaminated area, firefighter safety will be the top priority and responders will be diverted to another area. Should the fire burn completely through the contaminated area, conservative estimates of dose rates for onsite personnel are well below the criteria for initiating protective actions; there is no risk to health and human safety, and any offsite exposure would be negligible. However, out of an abundance of caution, a radiological response team has been deployed for on-site monitoring.”

The wildfire was first confirmed on Monday and has continued to grow throughout the week due to weather and high winds. On Thursday, the fire had burned across 13,658 acres, which was more than double Wednesday’s estimate of 5,000 acres, according to NNSS’ social media.

The forecast for Mercury includes wind gusts as high as 30 mph on Friday and up to 18 mph for most of the day on Saturday, slowing after midnight, according to information from the National Weather Service. Wind gusts up to 20 mph are possible for Mercury on Sunday, according to the weather service.


UPDATE: May 20, Thursday, 2 p.m.

A wildfire burning in two remote areas of the Nevada National Security Site more than doubled in size on Thursday due to weather and high winds, according to NNSS. No injuries or damage to structures has occurred, according to NNSS.

The fire burning in Areas 18 and 30 at NNSS increased to an estimated 13,658 acres, according to an update on the security site’s social media at 2 p.m. on Thursday. NNSS reported the fire had grown to 5,000 acres on Wednesday on its social media.

NNSS reported in its Facebook on Thursday, “As of noon today, 15 air drops have been completed. The fire is not burning, and has not burned, in any contaminated areas. No structures or assets are in danger.”

Smoke was first reported at NNSS on Monday, and Fire & Rescue confirmed there was a wildland fire in the northern section of the site at that time. NNSS reported on Tuesday on social media that Area 18 and 30, both remote areas, were the regions being affected by the fire that has burned on approximately 5,000 acres as of Wednesday, according to NNSS.

Bureau of Land Management assets were also reported to be on the ground to support in the Cherrywood Fire at the site as of Tuesday.

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