Annual Prescribed Burn at Schofield Begins May 11

8 05 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 7, 2015
———————-
Army takes action against summer wildfires

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii – Army officials are taking action against
wildfires by conducting an annual prescribed burn of the Schofield Barracks
training range complex beginning May 11.

U.S. Army Hawaii personnel have spent the last six months preparing for the
burn by removing brush around existing range firebreaks and improving roads
throughout the range complex to provide better access for firefighters and
emergency personnel.

The Army’s plan is to conduct a deliberate and phased prescribed burn of
approximately 1,200 acres – systematically burning small areas over the
course of about one week.

“Safety is our number one priority,” said Chief Scotty Freeman, Fire
Division Chief, Directorate of Emergency Services (DES), U.S. Army
Garrison-Hawaii. “Prescribed burns are an important tool in preventing
wildfires and protecting our communities, especially as the dry summer
months approach.”

The prescribed burn will improve safety by removing highly flammable guinea
grass and other vegetation. If left unchecked, these grasses become large
fuel sources for wildfires that can be difficult to contain and threaten
area resources.

Freeman estimates that effective prescribed burns can reduce wildfire
outbreaks by as much as 75 percent.

The team will conduct final checks, May 10, to ensure all personnel,
equipment and safeguards are in place and ready. The actual burn will begin
May 11, provided weather conditions such as wind, temperature and fuel
moisture are within the regulatory parameters.

Fire officials plan to complete the burn effort in approximately one week,
pending any unforeseen issues or weather.

Burn operations will take place during daylight hours, and Army firefighters
will remain on site each night to monitor the area.

“Coordination between supporting agencies is critical for an event like
this,” said Col. Duane Miller, Director of Emergency Services, explaining
that the garrison must follow Army, state and federal requirements when
conducting a prescribed burn.

Multiple personnel from USAG-HI, the Federal Fire Department, the 8th
Theater Sustainment Command, the 25th Infantry Division, and U.S. Marine
Corps Forces, Pacific are supporting the burn effort, to include
firefighters, aviators, engineers, natural and cultural resources
specialists, explosive ordnance disposal personnel, and law enforcement
personnel.

The Army has also coordinated with the Hawaii State Department of Health’s
Clean Air Branch and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who have both
reviewed and approved the prescribed burn plan.


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