The Main Stream

Jun 23, 2011 7:22 PM

Fort Huachuca braces for Monument Fire to spread

SIERRA VISTA - The Monument Fire nearing 50 percent containment but the flames on the south side of the Huachuca Mountains getting dangerously close to this military installation.

So how close is it? Colonel Timothy Faulkner said, "As a crow flies it's about 3 1/2 miles away from the installation."

And that's much too close for comfort for Brigadier General Gregg Potter, "Fires are common we have fires on the installation all the time but never on this scale, they've always been contained in a very short period of time," he said.

Just last week the Antelope Fire charred more than 4,400 acres in less than a day. And this time, like any other the post is prepared.

Colonel Faulkner explained, "We are making a buffer all around the huachuca mountains that separate the installation, the buildings and housing from the mountain side." He also said Fort Huachuca averages four to six fires a year. The post is actually stopping some training operations right now so soldiers can help clear out dead brush. He said, "Because the conditions are so extreme we've stopped range operations because we don't want to take chances of starting a fire."

In the last six days more than 500 soldiers have worked round the clock to make sure if a fire started on post it would not spread.
also on the fort at Libby Airfield air tankers stand by ready to drop retardant.

All this in an effort to keep the post and the people on it safe. Brigadier General Potter stressed, "This is still very dangerous situation and to be prepared in the event they need to evacuate but we're planning in case it does."

The threat of the wildfire reaching Fort Huachuca so real there's a battalion that just came back from Iraq, they didn't take a break and went straight to keeping this fire from spreading.

There are currently 1,300 post personnel impacted by the Monument Fire evacuations.

» There are multiple updates to this story. Please click here to get the latest information.

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