Update at 7 a.m. PT: The fire now covers more than 40,000 acres. The threat level to Los Alamos National Laboratory remains the same.
A large, fast-moving wildfire threatens one of the most important and well-known national laboratories in the United States.
Los Alamos National Laboratory will be closed for all nonessential personnel on Monday in the wake of a raging blaze called the Las Conchas fire that started about 12 miles southwest of the town of Los Alamos and quickly swelled to more than 3,500 acres, or more than 5.4 square miles.
Flames and huge plumes of thick, black smoke shot into the sky Sunday from New Mexico's Jemez Mountains, where the famous lab was originally located atop arid mesas west of Santa Fe to better hide the top-secret Manhattan Project that produced the first atomic bomb.
On Sunday afternoon, the fire started in the nearby forest and spread quickly. High winds and weeks without moisture in the Southwest have sparked a number of massive fires throughout Arizona and New Mexico.