USA — We shot in the face of a Red Flag Warning, which is something we do not do- Utah National Guard Commander
According to theUSDA Forest Service Active Fire Mapping Program website the fire which began yesterday at Camp Williams, a National Guard training site 26 miles south of Salt Lake City, has been officially dubbed the Machine Gun fire. According to the Forest Service, the fire is 0% contained with 3200 acres burned. [When researching stats on another wildfire a few days ago, the USDA reported the fire was ‘2,106%’ contained.] According to the latest report by KSL News out of Salt Lake City, fire officials told KSL theyve got some of the fire contained but cant give an estimate. The estimate of acres burned about 3500′. Three houses were burned by the fire. Some of the evacuated residents able to return to their homes.
About 5,000 residents were affected by mandatory evacuations. Herriman City now says evacuations have been lifted at The Cove at Herriman Springs, Valley View, Shoshone Hills, Fort Herriman Cove, Overlook and Herriman Heights.
Evacuations remain in place for High Country II, Majestic Oaks Lane, Majestic View Lane, Rosecrest above Emmeline Drive and Lookout Ridge.[Click here] for latest evacuation map.
Two conflicting reports from Desert News on what happened at Camp Williams according to the National Guard:
HERRIMAN Sunday afternoons training at Camp Williams started like any other.
It was routine live ammunition training, and it met the criteria for the day, including those for current weatherconditions, said Lt. Col. Hank McIntire.
Its not unheard of for live ammunition to start a grass fire at the Utah National Guard camp, so fire personnel at Camp Williams were on standby in case anything went wrong, McIntire said.
Around 12:30 p.m., a fire did crop up, though its unknown exactly how it started. Crews were notified and then responded immediately, McIntire said. They worked on the fire until they thought it was extinguished.
But it only takes a little bit of ember to cause a fire to flare up again.
Eventually the fire reignited and with a change of the wind it moved to Camp Williams artillery impact area. The land contains unexploded ordnance, McIntire said, and once the fire reached the area, fire fighting was hampered.
If fire were to cause ordnance to explode, it could potentially kill a water-dropping helicopter pilot flying overhead, he said.
As Guard firefighters worked around the artillery area, it became evident the fire was growing too much for them to handle, so they summoned the Unified Fire Authority at 3:30 p.m.
HERRIMAN The Utah National Guard admitted Monday it failed to check reports from the National Weather Service, which had issued a Red Flag burn warning for Sunday, until it was too late.
We shot in the face of a Red Flag Warning. We had a communication error (Sunday). We should have been aware of it. Had we known that was in place, we would not have shot, said Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet, commander of the Utah National Guard, referring to artillery training exercises at Camp Williams that sparked Sundays huge wildfire that burned three Herriman homes.
HERRIMAN, Utah In a press conference Monday afternoon, Camp Williams Adjutant, Maj. Gen. Brian L. Tarbet apologized for the chain of events that lead to the 4,300 acre fire that destroyed at least three houses and forced the evacuation of 1,600 homes in Herriman. Gen. Tarbet says that the fire literally exploded across Camp Williams, after Camp Williams fire crews were initially fighting a five acre fire at about 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
We say were sorry deeply sorry, these are the citizens were sworn to protect and we did not do that sunday, said Tarbet.
Example of a National Weather Service Red Flag Warning:
A RED FLAG WARNING MEANS THAT CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EITHER OCCURRING OR ARE IMMINENT. A COMBINATION OF STRONG WINDS LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY AND WARM TEMPERATURES WILL CREATE EXTREME FIRE GROWTH POTENTIAL.
Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet, during the press conference stated:
Tarbet also admitted that some of the civilian fire personnel at Camp Williams may have been aware of the Red Flag Warning but ignored it.
Currently the fire is burning some distance from homes with firefighters working on the east frontthe location of residential areasand Rose Canyon.
According to the Forest Service the fire is located 2 miles south of Herriman, the fire fuels: grass, Shrub Oak, Pinyon Juniper, and High Grass.
On May 4, 2000, red flag warning weather conditions in New Mexico, high winds and extremely dry conditions. National Park Service employees carrying out a controlled burn of 1,000 acres in the Bandelier National Monument in northern New Mexico. The controlled burn which led to the most destructive wildfire in New Mexico history, the Cerro Grande Fire. The Cerro Grande Fire destroying 400 Los Alamos homes, the fire scorching 43,000 acres. The fire swept across areas of the Department of Energys Los Alamos National Laboratory, LANL.
While it raged, the fire released radioactive and hazardous airborne contaminants from LANL and from burning vegetation and debris. In the fires aftermath, the magnitude of its destruction significantly changed environmental conditions and has increased the risks of flash floods, surface and groundwater contamination, and large amounts of LANL contaminants entering the Rio Grande. The Department of Energy (DOE), LANL, other federal agencies, and the State of New Mexico have taken prompt actions to mitigate risks and have made progress in providing the public with prompt and detailed information pertaining to the risks from the fire aftermath. According to a recent assessment, DOE found that the serious environmental and safety problems associated with flash floods, erosion, and contaminant run-off will persist at LANL for three to five years.