Prescribed burn scheduled at Schofield Barracks to prevent brushfires, protect endangered species

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File – Shanon Sison, firefighter, Army Wildland Fire, ignites invasive guinea grass with a flare gun during the Army’s 2016 prescribed burn at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. The Army conducts prescribed burns to prevent large brushfires during the dry summer months. (U.S. Army photo)

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The U.S. Army announced it will be conducting prescribed burns at Schofield Barracks during the week of Monday, April 19, to prevent brushfires and the potential threat they pose to more than 30 species of endangered plants and animals.

The schedule is subject to change pending wend, temperature and fuel moisture levels.

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A U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii fire division chief says prescribed burns are an essential tool to preventing uncontrolled brushfires in the area.

“Prescribed burns are an essential tool to help reduce the chances of uncontrolled brushfires in this area, which are the biggest threat to these endangered species. Prescribed burns help prevent brushfire outbreaks on our training ranges, and can reduce the number of brushfires by upwards of 70% annually.”

Alex Temporado, Fire Division Chief, Directorate of Emergency Service, U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii

Chief Temporado said, the process should take about three days to complete. Army staff will be on-site to use smoke modeling software to detect the direction and amount of smoke produced during the burns so necessary adjustments can be made.

Firefighters, aviators, engineers, range and safety officers, natural and cultural resources specialists, explosive ordnance disposal personnel and law enforcement personnel are all supporting the prescribed burn.

According to Army officials, highly flammable guinea grass and other vegetation can become fuel sources for brushfires that threaten native populations like the O’ahu ‘Elepaio, an endangered bird that lives in habitats above the Schofield Barracks range.

All operations will take place during the day and Army Wildland firefighters will stay during night hours to monitor the area.

The public can call the Army’s Public Affairs office at (808)-656-3158 or (808)-656-3150, or email usarmy.hawaii.pao@mail.mil, for questions or concerns.

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