Weapons secure at naval base but facility evacuated after quakes, authorities say

Southern California Hit By Second Big Earthquake In Two Days
A sign announcing a base closure is posted outside the main gate to Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake on Sunday in Ridgecrest, Calif.
(Mario Tama / Getty Images)

The Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake is closed after being damaged by back-to-back earthquakes around Ridgecrest, Calif.

The station has been open only to essential personnel since Thursday’s magnitude 6.4 earthquake. Following Friday night’s 7.1 quake, the facility was evacuated, officials said.

Spokeswoman Helen Haase said the base suffered structural damage, but she could not confirm what buildings were affected.

Engineers are still assessing the structures across the station’s 1.2 million acres. Weapons and ammunition were “checked and secured,” she said, and personnel were evacuated to the naval base in Ventura County.


“We are not mission capable,” Haase said, but added that if personnel need to go on base for an emergency, such as picking up medication, “We’re not going to turn them down.”

In a Facebook post, the China Lake station said the U.S. Geological Survey confirmed the epicenter of the first earthquake was on two faults located on the base. A team of scientists have visited the base to study the seismological impact, according to the Facebook post.

The base has restored its water and power as of Sunday. It’s unclear when personnel and their families will be able to return, Haase said.


Twitter: @r_valejandra

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