Fort Hood officials reported that all range fires are 100 percent contained as of Thursday afternoon.
Firefighters have been battling various range fires on post since July 17, according to past news releases from the Fort Hood Press Center.
“Military units on Fort Hood will continue to work on all boundaries of the range area by improving fire breaks and air dropping water on hot spots as needed,” officials said in a news release on Thursday.
Army live-fire munitions training exercises have been restricted to after 8 p.m. and ending before 11 a.m. “as part of the effort to balance the requirement for training to continue due to fixed deployment schedules with the risk of igniting ranges,” according to the news release. “Such training occurred during this new mandated time period (Wednesday) evening and (Thursday) morning with no fires being generated.”
Officials said fire risk is lower in the overnight hours because of higher humidity and lower winds.
Despite questions from the Herald, Fort Hood isn’t saying if the fires started because of live-fire training. One fire this week started on the Blackwell range, commonly used by tanks and other vehicles training with live ammunition, Fort Hood officials said. Earlier fires in July consumed about 8,500 acres, and Fort Hood has not said if they started on a specific firing range.
The causes are being investigated, Fort Hood officials said Thursday.
Officials on post have begun to prioritize training so that “units with the most pressing needs to meet readiness requirements for their upcoming deployments will train first. All other units will be inserted into the training schedule as weather and range conditions allow,” according to Thursday’s news release.
Questions to Fort Hood officials from the Herald that have been left unanswered as of press time are:
Did any of the fires start on a specific range?
What training was going on at the time on the ranges where the fires started?
What units were doing the training?
Who gave the OK for live-fire drills in fire hazard country?
How much smoke from the fires is in the air above and around Fort Hood?
Are Fort Hood officials concerned about affecting the air quality of the surrounding communities?
What will Fort Hood officials do to protect the air of troops and residents?