Fire scorches Camp Roberts following controlled burn

May 20, 2017

Controlled burn at Camp Roberts

A fire broke out at Camp Roberts on Friday and burned about 5,000 acres, one day after a controlled burn at Camp Roberts and about one year following a similar blaze at the National Guard post.

The 5,000 acre blaze, which official have dubbed the Range Fire, is believed to have ignited Friday afternoon at a firing range. The cause of the fire is unclear, but it may have been sparked by a training exercise.

As of Friday evening, the fire was 60 percent contained, according to Cal Fire. It is unclear if the fire has since been fully contained.

Last May, a 60 millimeter mortar illumination round sparked a fire at Camp Roberts that burned 3,800 acres. The mortar illumination round was fired into an impact area, where it ignited the ground. The 2016 fire then quickly spread, driven by wind and dry grass and woodlands.

On Thursday, fire personnel conducted a controlled burn with the intent of creating a fire break in preparation for a larger controlled burn scheduled to take place a week later.

Photo and video footage of Friday’s fire showed the blaze burning fairly close to Highway 101. There was heavy smoke in the area.

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Has there ever been a controlled fire at Camp Roberts that didn’t get out of control?