Mortar round sparked Camp Roberts fire

May 20, 2016

Camp Roberts fire 2A 60 millimeter mortar illumination round sparked the Camp Roberts fire that has burned 3,800 acres. Military personnel fire mortar illumination rounds in order to light up a battlefield.

At about 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the mortar illumination round was fired into an impact area at the National Guard post, Lt. Col. Kevin Bender, the deputy commander of Camp Roberts, said. The illumination round ignited the ground in the impact area. The blaze then moved quickly and jumped a fire break, Bender said.

Winds picked up the fire and caused it to grow quickly in an area of dry grass and woodlands.

As of Friday morning, the fire was 90 percent contained at 3,800 acres.

Burned grass and oak woodland caused heavy smoke to pour into the sky Wednesday night. It was still smoky in Paso Robles Thursday evening.

No structures have been damaged, and no one has suffered injuries as a result of the blaze, according to Cal Fire.



  1. easymoney says:

    The military and the feds are never held responsible. Especially to an agency like apcd…
    Fires happen every year on both bases, some controlled burns and some by live fire. The impact zones should have an enormous fire break surrounding them and there should be more staffing at the camp bob fire station to handle these fires, in house.
    Many local resources were diverted to fight this fire, but because of it being in an impact zone no one is allowed in for obvious reasons. Air attack is what controls fires like this…
    And where there is smoke, there you will find apcd snooping around looking for a buck.

    (0) 2 Total Votes - 1 up - 1 down
  2. Jorge Estrada says:

    I find it to be odd that the military does not answer to the local APCD, yet because of their routine fires, which adversely affect our air quality, we become a victim of APCD regulatory requirements????

    (5) 11 Total Votes - 8 up - 3 down
    • Pelican1 says:

      They do. ANY CONTROL BURNS are coordinated with the respective APCDs. This was NOT a prescription burn, this was the result of military training. All the guidelines and procedures are followed according to the EIS-EIR for Camp Roberts. In this case the post makes the required notifications to the local school districts, county, ans media.
      The environmental staff reviews and monitors all burns prescription or training related. they will GPS and GIS the burn area and identify any impacts to habitat and any species of concern. both Monterey and SLO counties have been notified.

      (4) 4 Total Votes - 4 up - 0 down

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