Officials at Fort Carson confirm the Carson Midway Fire that started on March 16th began during live fire training exercises involving infantry and aircraft.
The blaze started on Range 155 during aircraft live fire exercises, It consumed roughly 400 acres on post before moving east into private lands where an additional 2,900 acres burned and 2 homes were destroyed.
Fire crews from across the region were deployed to keep the flames from destroying more property. Fort Carson used Blackhawk helicopters and Chinook helicopters with Bambi buckets to knock down intense flames until two airplanes were brought in as winds calmed down.
The fire was not deemed fully extinguished until last week when the Environmental Protection Agency got involved. Their crews oversaw the dismantling of tires burning on private property.
At least 2,000 acres, multiple structures burn in Carson Midway Fire
Maj. Gen. Randy A. George, commanding general, 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson released the following statement:
"I am super proud of the partnerships that we have, not just the mutual aid agreements with local fire departments and cooperation with law enforcement and other first responders, but with the community in general. We are truly blessed with these relationships, and I want to say thank you very much for your support."
According to the post, personnel implement precautionary measures to mitigate the risk of wild land fires on ranges and within the military training areas, These efforts include daily communications with units and review of protocols to ensure their mission does not increase the chance of a fire.
"Our firefighters work year round on mitigation efforts in our training areas. We have a lot of fire prevention measures that are constantly in place, and we alter our training when the fire risk is elevated. We were mitigating risk and altering training before the fire and will continue to do so as a result of the fire and what we have learned," George said.
During the last 12-month period, from March 2017 to March 2018, Fort Carson experienced 233 days of medium to extreme fire danger. Of those 233 days, 26 were identified as Red Flag, extreme fire danger days.
"Our job is to train our Soldiers for combat; train like we’re going to fight, and make sure that they’re ready. We owe that to them and every one of their families. But that doesn’t mean that’s more important than the safety of our community that’s right outside the fence, because we don’t think that’s the case. I certainly understand the concerns of the community which is why we put all these mitigation measures into place," George said.