Army taking action against summer brushfires beginning May 15

| May 5, 2017 | 0 Comments

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Army officials are taking action against brushfires by conducting a prescribed burn of the Schofield Barracks training range complex this month.

Firefighters with USAG-HI's specialized Wildland Fire Division place signage prior to the 2016 prescribed burn. (Photo by Stefanie Gutierrez, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs)

Firefighters with USAG-HI’s specialized Wildland Fire Division place signage prior to the 2016 prescribed burn. (Photo by Stefanie Gutierrez, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs)

The Army’s specialized Wildland Fire Division is scheduled to begin the prescribed burn May 15, provided environmental conditions such as wind, temperature and fuel moisture are within the regulatory parameters.

“We anticipate completing the burn in approximately five to seven days; however, we won’t burn May 18 to 20, in consideration of local graduation ceremonies,” said Chief Chuck Gibbs, Fire Division chief, Directorate of Emergency Services, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii.

Safety is the Army’s No. 1 priority, and the prescribed burn will improve safety by removing highly flammable guinea grass and other vegetation on the range. If left unchecked, these grasses become large fuel sources for wildfires that can be difficult and costly to contain and threaten area resources.

“Prescribed burns make a big difference when it comes to preventing brushfire outbreaks on our training ranges,” said Justin Turnbo, fire management officer, Wildland Fire Division, USAG-HI. “They help reduce the number of brushfires by upwards of 70 percent over the year.”

Firefighters with USAG-HI's specialized Wildland Fire Division place signage prior to the 2016 prescribed burn. (Photo by Stefanie Gutierrez, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs)

Firefighters with USAG-HI’s specialized Wildland Fire Division place signage prior to the 2016 prescribed burn. (Photo by Stefanie Gutierrez, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs)

The Army has spent months preparing for the burn. These preparations include coordinating with the Hawaii State Department of Health’s Clean Air Branch and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure all state, federal and Army requirements are met.

Army staff will closely monitor humidity, wind and the level of concentration of natural fuel in the burn areas in an effort to minimize smoke and ash.

“We appreciate everyone’s understanding and will take every precaution to lessen potential impacts on our neighbors,” Turnbo said.

“Throughout the burn, we’ll be using smoke modeling software to detect direction and amount of smoke produced and make adjustments as necessary,” he added.

Multiple personnel and assets from the Army are supporting the prescribed burn. These include firefighters, aviators, engineers, range and safety officers, natural and cultural resources specialists, explosive ordnance disposal personnel and law enforcement personnel.

Firefighters with USAG-HI's specialized Wildland Fire Division place signage prior to the 2016 prescribed burn. (Photo by Stefanie Gutierrez, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs)

Firefighters with USAG-HI’s specialized Wildland Fire Division place signage prior to the 2016 prescribed burn. (Photo by Stefanie Gutierrez, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Public Affairs)

All burn operations will take place during daylight hours, and Army Wildland firefighters will remain on site each night to monitor the area. The Federal Fire Department will also be on standby for the duration of the burn.

 

Point of Contact

Community members can call the Army’s Public Affairs office at 656-3160 or 656-3159 to report smoke concerns or questions.

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Category: Community Relations, News, Safety

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