Sunday, July 7, 2013

Army artillery drill started Stuart Creek, Alaska, wildfire. Training took place during red flag warning in which residents are asked to avoid activities that could start fires-Newsminer

7/6/13, "Army official: Artillery drill started Stuart Creek wildfire," Sam Friedman,

TWO RIVERS, Alaska, "An Army artillery exercise ignited the Stuart Creek 2 fire now threatening the community of Two Rivers, according to the Fort Wainwright garrison commander.

Col. Ron Johnson spoke to area residents this evening at a community meeting at the Pleasant Valley Community Center.

In general, the Army makes sure it has the resources to put out a fire that could start from training before allowing the training, he said.

“In this case it took some mitigation measures, they allowed the training to occur, it was artillery training, it did start a fire,Johnson said.

The fire, which started June 25, was initially contained until it flared up last week, Johnson said.

The training took place during a red flag warning in which residents are asked to avoid conducting activities that could start fires, he said.

“It was monitored, it smoked up, they hit it again and then when the fire conditions changed it flared up and now we’ve got what we’ve got,” Johnson said.

Saturday’s meeting was organized by the firefighting crew now managing the 32,014-acre fire to give information to the Chena Hot Springs Road community that’s been under an advisory evacuation watch since Tuesday.

Johnson was not a scheduled speaker at the meeting but took the microphone to applause and laughter when a local resident asked “If the military started this fire, then why aren’t they here?”

Chena Hot Springs Road between 14 mile and 32 mile remains on evacuation watch. Warm weather is forecast for Sunday, as is wind that would blow the fire toward the community."
via Free Republic


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