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00000179-65ef-d8e2-a9ff-f5ef8d430000The Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington was home to Native Americans and later to settlers. It turned into an top-secret military workhorse during World War II and the Cold War. Now, it’s one of the most pressing and complex environmental cleanup challenges humanity is facing in the world.This remote area in southeast Washington is where the federal government made plutonium for bombs during WWII and the Cold War. It’s now home to some of the most toxic contamination on earth, a witch’s brew of chemicals, radioactive waste and defunct structures. In central Hanford, leaking underground tanks full of radioactive sludge await a permanent solution. Meanwhile, a massive $12 billion waste treatment plant, designed to bind up that tank waste into more stable glass logs, has a troubled history.00000179-65ef-d8e2-a9ff-f5ef8d440000Anna King is public radio's correspondent in Richland, Washington, covering the seemingly endless complexities of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

Fire Season Starts Off With A Bang At Hanford With 2,800 Acres Burned

Roger Harnack
Inciweb -
Dry season wildfires are not uncommon at Hanford. This July 2, 2017 photo shows the Silver Dollar Fire northwest of Richland, Washington.

Firefighters scrambled Sunday night at the Hanford nuclear reservation to corral a 2,800-acre wildfire. Hanford officials said the wildfire started Sunday evening.

The fire, which was put out by midnight, was likely started by lightning and driven by blustery winds. It didn’t burn any buildings at Hanford or any areas where radioactive waste is stored.

Still, Hanford spokespeople said the fire is a good wakeup that the fire season has started in earnest. They’re concerned about tall dried grasses and brush from last year’s wet conditions—and this year’s drier conditions.

Hanford workers have been clearing firebreaks along highways that run through the 586-square-mile reservation.

Last summer, there were two large fires that burned across the Hanford Reach National Monument, BLM, state and private ground near the desert nuclear reservation The East Saddle Mountain Fire was 17,465 acres and the Silver Dollar Fire burned 30,909 acres.

Anna King calls Richland, Washington home and loves unearthing great stories about people in the Northwest. She reports for the Northwest News Network from a studio at Washington State University, Tri-Cities. She covers the Mid-Columbia region, from nuclear reactors to Mexican rodeos.