The Navy's massive base in China Lake, California, has ordered an evacuation for non-essential personnel after recent earthquakes have rendered the installation "not mission capable," a message posted on the base's Facebook page says.
"Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake is responding to a 5.0 magnitude earthquake at 8:16 p.m., and a 7.1 magnitude earthquake at 8:19 p.m. Pacific time and multiple, consistent aftershocks on July 5 following a 6.4 magnitude earthquake and numerous aftershocks on July 4," the message says.
"NAWS China Lake is not mission capable until further notice; however, security protocols remain in effect. Safety of personnel is currently the highest priority."
Accordingly, the commander of Navy Region Southwest has authorized non-essential active-duty service members, drilling reservists, civilian employees, and military dependents to evacuate to Naval Base Ventura County, California, the message says.
Base personnel who are evacuating can receive more information by calling a Family Information Call Center at 1-844-523-2025.
"NAWS China Lake access remains Mission Essential Personnel only," the Facebook message says. "Do NOT attempt to access the Installation unless you are Mission Essential Personnel."
Located in the Mojave Desert about 150 miles north of Los Angeles, the sprawling installation covers more than 1.1 million acres, which is larger than the state of Rhode Island, according to the base's website. The installation contains 85 percent of the land that the Navy uses for the research, development, acquisition, testing, and evaluation of weapons systems.