Fort Carson update on chopper, PCMS

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The Army has been using the Pinon Canon Maneuver Site quite a bit this summer, and now will hold a prescribed burn there, Fort Carson announced today.
Fort Carson is staying busy cleaning up after a helicopter crash, training at the PCMS and conducting prescribed burns. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Fort Carson is staying busy cleaning up after a helicopter crash, training at the PCMS and conducting prescribed burns.
Before we get to that, here's an update on the Sept. 2 crash of the UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter in Douglas County on U.S. Forest Service land. The crash injured four soldiers with the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, post officials say.

Their names haven't been released. Two soldiers were treated and released from a hospital on the same day as the crash. A third was released on Sept. 4, and a third remained hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries as of last week, the post reports.

Carson removed the aircraft on Sept. 15, as Forest Service officials observed to assure recovery efforts followed federal standards. "The aircraft was moved to Butts Army Airfield on Fort Carson where the Army Combat Readiness Center, Fort Rucker, Alabama, continues the investigation into the cause of the Sept. 2 accident," the post tells us.

Use of PCMS:
In late May, about 3,000 soldiers and 1,100 Army vehicles with the 4th Infantry Division's 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team started conducting drills at the 235,000-acre short grass prairie that comprises Pinon Canon Maneuver Site. The drills lasted several weeks.

That training and others from Aug. 1, 2014, through Sept. 30 of this year occupied the PCMS for 269 days, or 63 percent of the time. The training involved the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Special Operations forces.

The PCMS hosted multiple units from Sept. 8 to 30, and the Army recently announced that more units will train on the southeast Colorado acreage from Oct. 18 to 31.

From a news release:
Increased dust and noise levels from the training can be expected during this time period, due to live fire training and heavy vehicle traffic throughout the training area. Field training includes day and night live-fire exercises incorporating small arms weapons.

The purpose of the training is to prepare Soldiers and other military members for any possible mission should the unit be called to support any contingency around the globe. During the exercise, crews will engage simulated targets using different scenarios to build team cohesion and ensure they are proficient in their skills.

Fort Carson is committed to balancing our training mission with protecting and preserving PCMS' natural environment and historical properties. Environmental personnel are involved in all levels of planning for military training, construction and other activities that could affect the PCMS environment.
Prescribed burns:

Fort Carson announced today it will conduct prescribed burns in the installation training areas and at PCMS from Oct. 10 through December. More from a release:
The installation prescribed burn program is critical in reducing potential for wildland fires and will only be conducted depending on weather conditions. The prescribed burns will cover approximately 7,000 acres on Fort Carson and 11,000 acres at PCMS. The burns are conducted to facilitate military training with 21 areas which are carefully planned and executed to reduce heavy vegetation in training areas that could provide potential fuel to a wildland fire.

The prescribed burns are conducted in accordance with permits issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, in coordination with El Paso and Las Animas counties. The installation also works with state and local air quality authorities on smoke management. Each burn is conducted with a focus on safety and the potential impact for off-site effects of smoke on public health and visibility. By combining favorable weather conditions with a variety of fire management techniques, Fort Carson officials work to keep smoke impact to a minimum.

Fort Carson continues to be supportive and understanding to the concerns of the surrounding community regarding air quality and the threat of wildland fires. The prescribed burn program continues the installation’s dedication to the preservation of the environment and wildland fire risk management in Colorado.

Concerned community members are encouraged to direct complaints to Fort Carson at (719) 526-9849. We take every complaint very seriously and strive to address concerns in a timely and thoughtful manner.



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