BOISE, Idaho – Mandatory evacuations were ordered Monday for a number of homes near a fast-moving Oregon wildfire as hot, dry weather continued to fuel several other fires across the West.
Strong winds in the Columbia River Gorge fanned a wildfire burning on 3,000 acres, forcing the evacuation of dozens of homes Monday while other residents waited to hear if they were going to have to leave.
The Government Flats Complex of fires was burning in hilly country near The Dalles, a Columbia River city that’s a favorite hangout for windsurfers. Officials said 50 structures were ordered evacuated. It wasn’t clear how many of those were homes.
KPTV.com reported that about 70 structures remained threatened Monday by the Blackburn Fire, part of the Government Flat Complex of fires. The American Red Cross established a shelter at an area elementary school for individuals forced from their homes.
Meanwhile, fire crews were also battling blazes in Idaho, Montana, Utah and California.
A sign warns visitors of searches for prohibited materials as they near the Hanford nuclear site in Hanford, Washington the most contaminated nuclear site in the Western hemisphere, seen here on March 17, 2011. (SHAUN TANDON/AFP/Getty Images)
RICHLAND, Wash. — A stainless steel tank the size of a basketball court lies buried in the sandy soil of southeastern Washington state, an aging remnant of U.S. efforts to win World War II. The tank holds enough radioactive waste to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool. And it is leaking.
For 42 years, tank AY-102 has stored some of the deadliest material at one of the most environmentally contaminated places in the country: the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. This complex along the Columbia River holds a storied place in American history. It was here that workers produced the plutonium for the atomic bomb dropped by the U.S. on Nagasaki, Japan, in 1945 – effectively ending the second world war.