Los Alamos Evacuation Order Lifted as Firefighters Make Progress on Blaze

Threat of a wildfire reaching the nuclear facility has decreased.

July 3, 2011 — -- The record-breaking Las Conchas fire in New Mexico has destroyed more than 113-thousand acres, but firefighters are making progress and as of this morning, the evacuation order on the people of nearby Los Alamos county has been lifted.

The Las Conchas fire is the biggest blaze in the state's history.

"Everybody's tired, everybody wants to be done. I want to be done, so everything's being done that we can to expedite this for you all," said Los Alamos County Police Chief Wayne Torpy said.

"It's fluid but it's still dynamic," Torpy added.

But New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez said firefighters have made progress fighting the blazes.

"You'll see some patches that are just totally black and then you will see some patches where the trees are up, and green, as though nothing had happened," Martinez said Saturday.

The Los Alamos National Laboratory, however, remains closed for all but essential personnel.

Scientists at the nuclear lab say they have switched to recovery, after the threat of a nearby wildfire reaching the facility has decreased.

Martinez said air testing above the site that contains low-level radioactive waste shows no reason for concern.

"We see no abnormalities in the air other than what you would normally see in a fire," said Martinez Saturday.

Los Alamos officials warned residents that they can "expect to see charred and smouldering landscapes in the hills and mountains surrounding Los Alamos. In addition, forest animals roving the townsite area have increased in number to escape the fire."

Motorists are asked to stay off the road if possible, due to early morning weather patterns which "create extra heavy smoke which impedes visibility in the morning hours," the Los Alamos County news release said.

Most of the county's 12,000 residents were evacuated Monday, with some leaving their sprinklers on to protect their homes.

Still, according to Torpy, about 150 die-hard residents have stayed behind, unfazed by the danger presented by their nuclear neighbor.

"I know the laboratory is secure and they're ready for this kind of emergency situation," Stephanie Chavez, a resident of Los Alamos, told ABC News.

The fire began around 1 p.m. Sunday, according to a report by InciWeb, which provides the "incident information system" and compiles information from government agencies.

The report indicated that Sunday's weather conditions included high temperatures, low humidity and high winds, all of which contributed to the inferno.

ABC News Radio and the Associated Press contributed to this report.