Schofield Burns To Remove Fire Hazard

U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii

U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii (USAG-HI) has gotten a head start on the summer dry season by removing fire hazards from around the base.

Members of the Range Development and Management Committee, Engineer Battalion and Military Police Brigade have spent the last three months removing brush and trees from around existing range firebreaks, and improving roads to provide better access for firefighters and emergency personnel.

Together, these efforts support the Army’s plan to conduct its annual prescribed burn of Schofield Barracks. Officials are planning to conduct the prescribed burn May 26-31 to reduce overall fire danger in the area.

The burn will remove highly flammable guinea grass and other vegetation. If left unchecked, these grasses become a fuel source for wildfires.

“We’re planning to burn between 1,200 and 1,600 acres, but we’re not going to burn it all at once,” said Directorate of Emergency Services chief Scotty Freeman. “We plan to conduct the burn systematically, by small areas, over the course of six days.”

The prescribed burn is structured so that the team will ignite, burn and extinguish fires in pre-designated areas each day.

The Army has coordinated with the state Department of Health’s Clean Air Branch and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which have approved the burn plan.

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