Nuclear Weapons Plant Shut Down Over Massive Wildfire

( – The Pantex nuclear weapons plant was forced to shut down on February 27th after a massive wildfire came dangerously close to its location.

The plant warned employees via X (formerly Twitter) that all non-essential employees must evacuate by 6:30 pm “out of an abundance of caution.” It then told employees to check roads for wildfires to avoid driving through dangerous conditions. A follow-up post warned employees that graveyard shifts were also canceled for all nonessential personnel.

The announcement came as Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott released an emergency declaration that spread across 60 of the state’s northern counties. That declaration came after the Smokehouse Creek Fire spread across 470 square miles. The flames were visible north of the Pantex Plant when the evacuation order was issued.

The plant later served as a shelter for essential personnel as firemen fought to contain the fire outside. Crews were able to successfully secure all hazardous materials in time.

The plant resumed its normal operations on February 28th after crews confirmed that it was safe to return. All employees were told to resume their regular shifts.

The Pantex Plant, situated just northeast of Amarillo, has been in operation for decades. It focused primarily on building nuclear weapons until 1991, when it built its last bomb. Since then, it has primarily been used to test and dismantle existing weapons.

The wildfire continues to grow despite the plant’s decision to reopen. Officials still haven’t determined the cause of the wildfire, but dry weather and strong winds have helped it spread faster than crews can contain it. One person is confirmed dead and thousands have been left without power throughout the region.

The Smokehouse Creek wildfire is just one of several currently devastating the area. Thousands of homes and businesses have been destroyed, leaving many homeless. However, the forecast is showing that some rain is expected in the area. That could help improve efforts to contain the blaze.

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