FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. – The installation, in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service and local fire agencies, are conducting prescribed burns Feb. 8-10, 2021, here to mitigate catastrophic damage from wildfire.
“The burns we’re going to be implementing this week are wildfire mitigation burns so our Soldiers can keep live-fire training without starting a large wildfire up on our mountain,” said Shane Hall, forester, Department of Public Works’ Environmental & Natural Resources Division
Essentially, this prescribed burn is cutting the grass back off of the ridge of the mountain which is necessary due to the type of live-fire rounds used on the ranges.
He said teams of fire personnel are ready to burn over 1100 acres behind Garden Canyon Road's live-fire ranges avoiding certain vegetation critical to the natural habitat.
U.S. Forest Service, Fort Huachuca Fire Department, Bureau of Land Management, Arizona State Forestry, and several local, rural fire departments are involved in the prescribed burn.
All personnel involved attend a brief by Bill Cherry, range safety officer, to inform them of possible dangers in the area, such as unexploded ordnance.
Cherry explains the visible differences between live rounds and training rounds, but reminds them there is no difference in the dangers if found.
“We are proactive here to burn all that fuel [dry grass] to control these possible fire-starters,” Cherry said explaining that tracers or arms ammunition can set a spark to dry grasses and travel quickly.
Prescribed burns and recent pile burns also protect and ensure the future of wildlife here.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allows cutting and burning from Sept. 1 to March 1 annually which is outside the Mexican Spotted Owl breeding season.
“Pile burns are geared towards our High Elevation Fuels Treatment which was developed to protect spotted owl packs from catastrophic fire,” Hall said. “The Mexican Spotted Owl is the main purpose for the burns scheduled this time of year.” The cooler temperatures during this time of year have less effect on the wildlife in the area, he explained.
First responders are also on site to ensure the safety of fire personnel walking the fire down the mountain in a line.
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Fort Huachuca is home to the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM)/9th Army Signal Command, and more than 48 supported tenants representing a diverse, multiservice population. Our unique environment encompasses 964 square miles of restricted airspace, and 2,500 square miles of protected electronic ranges, key components to the national defense mission.
Located in Cochise County, in southeast Arizona, about 15 miles north of Mexico’s border, Fort Huachuca is an Army installation with rich frontier history. Established in 1877, the Fort was declared a national landmark in 1976.
We are the Army’s Home. Learn more at https://home.army.mil/huachuca/