IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (CBS 2) — A fast-moving brush fire burning in eastern Idaho is impacting operations at the Idaho National Laboratory, the state's nuclear research facility. Because of changes in wind and fire behavior, all non-essential employees have been evacuated from several of the site's facilities.
The Sheep Fire has burned about 85,000 acres burning north of Highway 20 and south of Highway 33, on INL's site near the eastern border. At last check, the fire was located about 10 miles from the site's Materials and Fuels Complex.
Investigators say the fire was sparked by lighting around 6:30 p.m. Monday. Firefighters from INL and the Bureau of Land Management are working together to fight the fire, which appears to have doubled in size since late Monday. Four BLM engines, three INL engines, two INL bulldozers, one BLM bulldozer and two tactical water tenders are on the scene.
As a result of the Sheep Fire, operations are curtailed at Idaho National Laboratory’s Materials and Fuels Complex (MFC) and Transient Reactor Test Facility (TREAT) for Tuesday, July 23. Non-essential personnel are being evacuated from the Central Facilities Area, Advanced Test Reactor Complex, EBR-1, Integrated Waste Treatment Unit and Idaho Nuclear Technology and Engineering Center.