Nuclear Weapons Facility Shut Down Due To Texas Wildfires

The fast-moving wildfires that have plagued the Texas Panhandle for days had burned nearly 1.3 million acres by Monday and killed at least two people, CBS News reported.

According to Texas A&M Forest Service, there were five active wildfires across the panhandle, the largest, Smokehouse Creek Fire, had already burned nearly 1.1 million acres in Hutchinson County, making it the largest Texas wildfire in recorded history.

The Smokehouse Creek Fire forced the brief evacuation of some workers at the Pantex nuclear weapons plant northeast of Amarillo on February 27, the Associated Press reported.

That afternoon, Pantex began posting updates on social media as the wildfire approached its facility from the north. Out of an “abundance of caution,” the company evacuated non-essential personnel and canceled its graveyard shift.

Pantex workers began constructing a fire barrier to protect the plant while operations were temporarily paused.

By Wednesday morning, Pantex posted that the plant would be operating normally and instructed day-shift personnel to report to work as scheduled.

By Sunday, March 3, the Smokehouse Creek Fire was only 15 percent contained.

Weather conditions throughout Texas have hampered firefighting efforts, as the region faced warmer temperatures, strong winds, and dry air – all ideal conditions for wildfires.

The National Weather Service reported on Monday morning that a cold front was expected to pass through the region. The cooler temperatures were expected to help minimize the impact of the fires.

According to CBS News, the Grape Vine Creek Fire in Gray County was 60 percent contained by Monday after burning nearly 35,000 acres. In Moore County, Windy Deuce Fire had burned 144,206 acres by Monday and was 55 percent contained. Magenta Fire in Oldham County burned nearly 3,300 acres by Monday and was 85 percent contained.

Meanwhile in Hutchinson County, a second wildfire, Roughneck Fire, kicked off and burned about 300 acres by Monday. Roughneck was only 25 percent contained.