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Friday, September 9, 2011

Brownwood Dedicates Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza

Brownwood Dedicates Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza

Martin Luther King Jr: War As An Enemy of the Poor | Common Dreams

Martin Luther King Jr: War As An Enemy of the Poor | Common Dreams

With Wildfire Risk High, Military Alters Training

letter to the editor: Camp Bowie fires - Brownwood Bulletin - Brownwood News from Brownwood, TX: Opinion: To the editor:

Appreciate the military - Brownwood Bulletin - Brownwood News from Brownwood, TX: Opinion: To the editor:

Should censor letters - Brownwood Bulletin - Brownwood News from Brownwood, TX: Opinion: To the editor:


With Wildfire Risk High, Military Alters Training

* by Kate Galbraith

CAMP SWIFT, Texas — Camp Swift, a training area for Texas soldiers, lies several miles north of the area charred this week by the most destructive wildfire in Texas history. But 1,500 acres of the camp burned in a different fire last month, after a soldier used a grenade simulator in an unauthorized place.

“This stuff went up like a Roman candle,” said Col. Robert Crow, the commander of the training centers for the Texas Army National Guard, as he gestured toward dead pine trees.

As the worst one-year drought in Texas history wears on, officials at Camp Swift and other military installations around the state are figuring out how to keep training while reducing fire risks.

Some large fires have begun this year on firing ranges, including a 3,700-acre blaze that started last week and is now mostly contained at Fort Hood (in total over 14,000 acres have burned on the base's range since June, officials say). At Camp Bowie, a Texas Army National Guard training site roughly 150 miles northwest of Austin, tracer fire sparked a 4,000-acre blaze this spring.

Billy Rhoads, the fire chief at Fort Hood, estimated that more than 50 fires had occurred since the drought began, “and I may be low on that,” he added.

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Fort Sam Houston, near San Antonio, has had four small fires this year, as opposed to two last year, according to Karla Gonzalez, a base spokeswoman.

The tinderbox conditions across Texas seem likely to continue: La NiƱa, a Pacific Ocean phenomenon that experts blame for the drought, has returned and is expected to persist into the winter.

The military is making adjustments. In May, Crow banned the use of tracer ammunition at all Texas Army National Guard camps, including Camp Swift and Camp Bowie. (Other military personnel also train at these camps.) Tracers, which are normally fired every fifth round, are phosphorous-tipped, allowing the trajectory to be a visible red streak, but they are also highly flammable. Crow has also banned the use of most pyrotechnics, including smoke grenades and artillery simulators. The areas where soldiers are allowed to smoke cigarettes have shrunk as well.

In past years, devices like smoke grenades did not generally cause issues, but “now they’re just as culpable to start a fire as a lit match,” Crow said.

http://www.texastribune.org/texas-environmental-news/water-supply/amid-wildfire-risk-military-texas-alters-training/?utm_source=texastribune.org&utm_medium=alerts&utm_campaign=News%20Alert:%20Subscriptions#