Wildfire contained on Hanford nuclear site - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Wildfire contained on Hanford nuclear site

Associated Press - August 17, 2007 1:45 AM ET

RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) - The portion of a wind-driven wildfire that burned onto the Hanford nuclear reservation near Richland (Washington) has been fully contained.

The federal Energy Department says the fire continues to burn grass and sagebrush in the Hanford Reach National Monument and nearby areas.

The fire was first reported this afternoon and had burned across more than 15 square miles - or 10,000 acres - by tonight (Thursday night.)

The fire forced all but essential employees home from the Hanford site. Officials are deciding overnight whether to call them back to work tomorrow (Friday).

The fire burned close to an area where underground tanks hold millions of gallons of radioactive waste left from Cold War-era nuclear weapons production. But an Energy Department official says all facilities in that area are surrounded by large gravel barriers and firebreaks and were not (NOT) in danger.

Johanna Berkey of the state Department of Health says the fire posed no immediate public health risk.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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