No one hurt in huge blaze at bombing range

Noone hurt in huge blaze at bombing range

20 February 2007

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Springfield,VA,USA — Someone using a torch tocut metal accidentally sparked a grass fire that burned an area about a milelong and a half-mile wide on the Melrose Bombing Range.

The blaze was reported on the eastern end of the 66,000-acre bombing range at12:45 p.m. Monday and was extinguished at 1:10 p.m., said a Cannon Air ForceBase spokesman, Staff Sgt. Brandon Seals.

“They caught it relatively quickly,” Seals said.

Melrose Fire Chief Kenny Jacobs added, “We lost some grass, and that’sall.”

The bombing range, 22 miles west of Cannon, is used as a training site formilitary pilots.

A fire that broke out on Nov. 30, 2005, on the range burned 27,000 acres ofrangeland in southeastern New Mexico and forced the evacuation of the communityof Floyd.

Authorities said a B-1B bomber from Texas on a training flight over theeastern New Mexico range had released a bomb dummy, and its spotting charge —roughly equivalent to the charge of a shotgun shell — started that blaze inthe dry grassland. Gusty winds whipped the flames off the range and ontoadjacent property, leading to the evacuation of a school and about 100 residentsof Floyd for several hours.

It took fire crews a day to contain the blaze, which charred two structuresand damaged or destroyed privately owned fences, animal feed and crops.

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