Fort Carson reports 20 training related vegetation fires in last 12 months

Two recent fires started on the base burned a total of 5,000 acres, two homes, numerous outbuildings, and dozens of vehicles.

A spokesperson for Fort Carson, a U.S. Army base south of Colorado Springs, admits that 20 fires in the last 12 months have been a result of training activities on the base, according to KOAA. Below is an excerpt from their report:

On March 16, a fire caused by live ammunition training on a Fort Carson artillery range burned nearly 3,000 acres off Mountain Post property, destroying two homes, numerous outbuildings, and dozens of vehicles.  Sunday, a wildfire caused by shooting on the Cheyenne Mountain Shooting Complex public shooting range burned more than 2,000 acres and forced the total closure of a roughly 10-mile stretch of I-25 for more than an hour.

Gert MaraisLocal residents and elected officials are wondering if there is anything the base can do to reduce the number of fires started by training, such as eliminating dangerous activities during periods of elevated fire danger.

Ten years ago this month the pilot of a single engine air tanker was killed while helping firefighters on the ground contain a fire that started on Training Area 25 at Fort Carson. Wildfire Today wrote about the report released by the National Transportation Safety Board, which indicates there were very strong winds that day when Gert Marais died:

At the time of the crash, a U.S. Forest Service person on the ground who was directing the SEAT estimated that at the time of the crash the wind was out of the southwest at 30-40 knots. Winds at the Fort Carson airfield, 5 miles from the crash site, were between 20 and 40 knots from 1300 to the time of the accident at 1815.

Strong winds like occured on April 15, 2008 often indicate high wildfire danger if the relative humidity is low and the vegetation is dry.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Bean.
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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. Google+

4 thoughts on “Fort Carson reports 20 training related vegetation fires in last 12 months”

  1. I think this is a no-brainer. 1) US Army needs to shut down live-fire as dictated by weather and fuel conditions. 2) the on the ground Seat “director” should be testing/rolling hose at the Fire Cache, not doing anything with aviation assets.
    In my mind, no part of these scenarios is excusable.jw

  2. I’ve seen Ft. Riley burn around their perimeter to try and keep fires from leaving the base. Obviously different fuels and topography but can they doze a fireline inside the fence in places to try and keep it on their property. I’ve been to The area but never Ft. Carson

  3. A couple of things….the DoD and the installation need to get serious about wildfire prevention. Troops need to train to protect us. That’s what that base is there for. Fort Carson and every other training base that is prone to wildfire ignitions has to be proactive in fire management. Rx Fire, Fuel breaks, fire breaks, etc. are required to reduce fire ignitions and optimize military training. Sound desicions based on current and predicted fire weather, incident activity, and resource availability need to made in regard to what levels of incendiary training devices are allowed in the perimeter areas.

    Great website!

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