Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Peterson Space Observer

Take precautions with area burn bans

(U.S. Air Force photo/Carol Lawrence) An ominous cloud of smoke from the Waldo Canyon Fire rises from the south behind the Air Force Academy’s Cadet Chapel as cadets head for a briefing on evacuation procedures June 27, 2012. The Academy evacuated more than 600 families and 110 dormitory residents from the base the evening of June 27.

By Lt. Col. Mark Donnithorne

21st Civil Engineer Squadron commander

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Colorado Springs enacted a burn ban June 25 as a result of recent fire activity, higher than normal temperatures, strong winds and dry fuels. These factors combine to create an extreme wildland fire danger, and wildland fuel moistures are near the lowest levels since 2002, the year of the Hayman fire.

Despite the recent rain, as the base civil engineer, I ask everyone to take appropriate precautions to help prevent wildfires when participating in outdoor activities. When smoking in a vehicle, do not discard cigarettes out the window. If smoke or flames are spotted, immediately call 911.

Many of the activities restricted by the city’s burn ban (bonfires, recreational fires and welding) are already limited on Peterson AFB by 21st Space Wing Instruction 32-2001, Fire Emergency Services. Barbecue grills are allowed under the current ban, however, grills will not be used inside or within 10 feet of any facility or inside the fenced area of the flightline. Thoroughly soak charcoal before disposal. Do not store gas grills inside facilities. Also, under the current fire ban, outside open flame devices, such as chimeneas and wood-burning stoves, may not be used.

A complete listing of Colorado Springs burn ban requirements can be found on the city’s website at www.springsgov.com. Additionally, El Paso County has issued stage II fire restrictions for unincorporated areas of El Paso County. A listing of those restrictions can be found on the El Paso County Sherriff’s website at http://shr.elpasoco.com. Direct any questions to the respective agency or to the Peterson AFB fire prevention office at 556-4242 or 556-7774.

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