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Friday, July 20, 2012

Wyoming: Colorado National Guard Starts Huge Wyoming Wildfire

Colorado Guard Unit Starts Wyoming Sawmill Wildfire

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A Colorado National Guard unit training with explosives started a wildfire that has scarred about 22 square miles in southeast Wyoming, according to a preliminary investigation released Thursday by the Wyoming Military Department.

The Sawmill Canyon Fire erupted on the Wyoming National Guard’s Camp Guernsey training area Saturday as the Colorado engineer unit conducted trained with explosives, including TNT and dynamite, on a demolition range, department spokeswoman Deidre Forster said.

The unit was practicing clearing obstacles from roads by using explosives, she said.
“We deeply regret that military training caused this fire, but we are grateful that to this point no lives and no structures or livestock have been lost,” Maj. Gen. Luke Reiner, Wyoming’s adjutant general, said in a news release.
Such exercises are routinely accompanied by Camp Guernsey firefighters, Forster said, but she had no details on why the fire still got out of hand.

No structures have been lost and no one has been hurt in the Sawmill Fire. But the fire forced the state to evacuate and close the east side of nearby Glendo State Park. The park’s west side and its Glendo Reservoir remained open, and the entire park, which is popular with boaters and campers, reopened on Thursday, with the fire 60 percent contained.

Reiner said the Wyoming National Guard has requested an independent investigation by an Air Force officer.

Besides the Wyoming Guard, Camp Guernsey has been used by the U.S. and international military units as well as various other state, federal and local government agencies that need weapons and explosives training.

About 160 Colorado Guard members participated in the training exercise that ran Friday through Sunday at the site 100 miles north of Cheyenne, Deidre said.

Many areas of Wyoming are under fire restrictions that include bans on open fires and fireworks because of drought conditions. 
California Fire News 2012 

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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