Keeping forests both beautiful and safe often requires a little fire, and Fort Carson is currently partaking in this practice.
The process of unleashing prescribed burns to clear up and regenerate the forest will occur on post for the next few weeks. The controlled burns are part of a Fort Carson and Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site program to reduce the likelihood of wildfires being started due to military training or lightning, said Peter Wolf, prescribed fire coordinator, Fort Carson Fire and Emergency Services.
While the burns may cause noticeable smoke in the sky, the Carson community needn’t worry, said Bill Balton, Turkey Creek Fire Department. He emphasized that prescribed burns are not dangerous.
“These are not wildfires,” said Balton of the prescribed fires. “We are in control of these burns.”
Each of the burns will be staffed with proper equipment to help minimize the chance of the burn becoming out of control. Adequate wildland firefighting personnel
will be on hand as well as several engines and water tenders, Wolf said.
The firefighters are properly trained on controlled burn containment. The process will help to make training run smoother on Fort Carson by lowering the possibility of fires starting on live-fire ranges. Fires on ranges cause training to be shut down.
Balton said one of the areas that will be focused on with the burns is the outlying edge of Fort Carson. Burning the edges will create a buffer zone to reduce the likelihood of possible fires on post from spreading off post.
To help deal with wildland fires Fort Carson recently completed a wildland firefighter training course. The students — including Fort Carson Soldiers, local airmen and firefighters — took their final test Saturday when they conducted a controlled burn
near the Turkey Creek Recreation Area.
The controlled burns are primarily lit using drip torches. Firefighters use torches to drip flaming diesel and gasoline onto the ground to start the burns. The burns are part of a natural process of regenerating the forest, said Balton.
The success the U.S. Forest Service has had fighting wildfires has allowed brush to grow to dangerous levels. The overabundance of undergrowth has caused wildfires to become more dangerous in recent years. Fort Carson's prescribed burns program will help to make installation land less prone to erupt into an uncontrollable wildfire, said Balton.
During the next few weeks Carson community members seeing smoke arise from downrange on post need not worry. The burns are only temporary and will help to preserve wildland for the community to enjoy.