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Ft. Carson plans prescribed burns on training ranges this month

Posted at 11:02 AM, Feb 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-26 12:04:36-04

COLORADO SPRINGS – Fort Carson crews plan to conduct prescribed burns for several weeks starting around February 25th. The activity will take place on training grounds in need of clearing before soldiers can use the ranges.

Anyone living near the area or passing by along Interstate 25 between Fountain and Pueblo will likely see smoke from the burns.

Less grass and brush on the ranges means a lower risk of a wildfire during training that involves live-firing of ordinance and vehicle maneuvers. In spring 2018, officials with the Mountain Post admitted at least 20 wildland fires were sparked during training events. Most were not a serious threat as they impacted remote areas and were extinguished quickly by on-post personnel.

For example:

  • March 16, 2018: A fire caused by live ammunition training on a Fort Carson artillery range burned nearly 3,000 acres of Mountain Post property, destroying two homes, numerous outbuildings, and dozens of vehicles.
  • April 8, 2018: 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.

Fort Carson officials adapted their protocols following discussions with property owners and elected officials in El Paso County.  There were many questioning why units were conducting training that could spark a fire during Red Flag Warning conditions.

Fort Carson says it must train year-round to be combat ready in places like Afghanistan.  “Our training policies dictate that any time a unit is executing live-fire training a firefighting detail is required to be on ground and ready to respond immediately,” an emailed statement to News 5 said. “On high-fire danger days fire crews are pre-staged so they are ready to respond quickly in case a situation arises.”

Anyone concerned about the scheduled events may call Fort Carson at 719-526-9849.

Information on how to protect your health amid wood smoke from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

RELATED: What is a Red Flag Warning?