The occupation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge ended Thursday, but the work to secure the area, now considered a crime scene, only just began.
The FBI opened parts of the refuge for media access Friday, some 24 hours after the final four occupiers turned themselves over to law enforcement without incident.
In the hours after the surrender, tactical teams swept the refuge to make sure no one was left. On Friday morning, bomb squads began searching buildings for any potential explosive devices and previously existing hazardous materials.
“We do know there were hazardous materials on site prior to, so we want to make sure those are secured and in a condition that is safe,” FBI Portland Assistant Special Agent in Charge Larry Karl said.
The massive crime scene needs to be cleared of hazards before evidence teams, including the FBI’s Art Crime Team, can begin working. The refuge, which was occupied for 41 days, is expected to be closed to the public for quite some time.
“I don’t think we’ve had an incident like this before,” Karl said of the occupation and crime scene left behind.