California wildfire near explosives-testing facility mostly contained, averting potential danger

California’s largest wildfire to date this season — kindled on Saturday adjacent to an explosives- and materials-testing facility — has been 75 percent contained, Cal Fire announced Monday.

The so-called Corral Fire, whose source was still under investigation, had grown to about 14,168 acres just southwest of the city of Tracy, in San Joaquin County, due east of San Francisco.

While the blaze had led to numerous evacuation orders over the weekend and shuttered Interstate 580, the orders were downgraded by Monday, and the highway was reopened, according to Cal Fire’s Santa Clara Unit.

San Joaquin County also announced the cancellation of a boil water notice that had gone into force Sunday.

Although any imminent danger appeared to have been averted by Monday, the Corral Fire’s location had garnered some concern due to its proximity to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Site 300.

The 11-square-mile Department of Energy research lab opened in the 1950s “primarily as a high-explosives and materials testing site in support of nuclear weapons research,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Cleanup at the facility has been ongoing, but past activities there “contaminated soil and groundwater with hazardous chemicals,” including tritium, depleted uranium and volatile organic compounds, per the EPA.

Asked about any potential threat posed by the fire to the site, Paul Rhien, a spokesperson for Livermore, said in an emailed statement that Cal Fire is investigating the cause of the blaze.

He added that the site had recently conducted controlled burns to remove dry grasses and create a buffer zone around the buildings, stressing that the fire was “not related to the controlled burns.”

“There are no current threats to any Laboratory facilities and operations as the fire has moved away from the site,” Rhien said, noting that there has not been any on- or offsite contamination.

“As a precaution, we activated our emergency operations center and monitored the situation through the weekend,” he added.

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