One of the major wildfires occurred a few miles from Los Alamos National Laboratory, one of the key centers of nuclear research.
Unprecedented bad weather conditions in the southwestern US state of New Mexico threaten new fires, which have already involved 1,400 firefighters and a whole flotilla of planes and helicopters.
Many families have already been left homeless, and thousands of residents have been evacuated due to fires that have engulfed large areas of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in northeastern New Mexico.
Earlier this week, Las Vegas, a 13-thousand-year-old town in New Mexico, was like a ghost town: restaurants and grocery stores were closed, schoolchildren were transferred to remote education, the tourist area was deserted.
Across the country, about 2,000 square miles have already been affected by fires this year. And forecasts for the rest of spring do not bode well for the West, where prolonged drought and higher temperatures caused by climate change have combined to exacerbate the threat of forest fires.
In the forested areas of Arizona and Colorado, fires also started early, forcing many residents to evacuate.
Another major wildfire in New Mexico occurred within 5 miles of Los Alamos National Laboratory, one of the key centers for nuclear research and the future production of plutonium components for nuclear weapons.
Some nuclear safety experts and environmentalists have expressed concern about the containers with nuclear waste in the laboratory. According to state representatives, we are talking about 109 containers waiting to be sent to the underground waste storage of the federal government.
On Friday, representatives of the laboratory said that radioactive and other potentially hazardous materials are stored in containers designed and tested in such a way as to withstand extreme conditions, including heat from fire.