FORT SILL, Okla._Nearly 500 acres of land was burned Tuesday on the west side of Fort Sill in order to reduce the fire risk.
The land is just 100 yards away from the artillery impact zone on the post's west firing range. It has quite a few years worth of overgrowth, causing it to be a fire risk for the Fort Sill area. The Fort Sill Fire Department and the Wildlife Refuge deemed Tuesday as the perfect day to take care of the hazard.
The Assistant Fire Chief of the Fort Sill Fire Department, Jeremy Thomas, said they have a lot of rookies and anytime they can get them working with some sort of fire it is always beneficial for their future.
"They're getting a bird's eye view of wild land fire behavior. Once we light the fuels, we kind of let them go and let the rookies kind of get a good read on how smoke and fire react," said Thomas.
This fire wasn't all about training, however, the overgrown land is the length of a football field away from the impact area of the west range and any little spark with the right weather conditions could have caused some damage.
"We have a low, medium, and a high, high being the worst, this one was in the moderate category for a fire to come racing out of the impact area and consuming this land. So this is huge for us to burn off this area," explained Thomas.
To put the danger of a fire getting out of the impact area into perspective, it was only last Friday that a bullet plus 50 mile per hour winds caused hundreds of acres to catch fire near the firing range.
Prescribed burns can be incredibly beneficial, they help protect, help train and Thomas says they also help morale.
"Anytime we can get out of the fire house and actually, not fight fire, but do some good for the community and the United States Army, managing the wildland and the training area for the troops our guys get a good sense of accomplishment," said Thomas.
Thomas also said the low winds and the right humidity of the day wasn't the only thing that made Tuesday an opportune time to conduct the burn, the rain chances for tomorrow will also help keep this fire from rekindling.