Prescribed fire of house with explosives

On December 1 Wildfire Today told you about the house near Escondido, California that contained 9 to 12 pounds of unstable high explosives, including HTMD, PETN, and ETN, which is the largest cache of its type ever found in the United States. Local authorities determined that the safest method of dealing with the explosives was to conduct a prescribed fire of the house.

Firefighters applied foam or gel to a newly constructed barrier wall (16′ high and 75′ long on a neighbor’s property), cut holes in the roof, and opened the windows of the house. Ignition was delayed due to the weather. An inversion caused the mixing height to be inadequate earlier, and they wanted the smoke to disperse into the higher atmosphere, rather than impact the millions of residents in San Diego County.

Bomb house in Escondido
The house shortly before the fire.

Shortly after the burn started:

Bomb house burning
12:01, December 9

More photos are below

Bomb house burning
12:18 a.m., December 9
Bomb house burning
Photo: Debbi Baker

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.