Army Mum on Whether Live Rounds Were in Use when Fire Began

Smoke from a wildfire, named the Carson Midway wildfire, billows behind homes in Hanover, Colo., Friday, March 16, 2018. (Dougal Brownlie/The Gazette via AP)
Smoke from a wildfire, named the Carson Midway wildfire, billows behind homes in Hanover, Colo., Friday, March 16, 2018. (Dougal Brownlie/The Gazette via AP)

FORT CARSON, Colo. — The Army remained silent Monday on whether live ammunition was in use during a training exercise at Fort Carson three days ago, the same day a fire started on the post, spread to private land and destroyed three homes.

Fort Carson spokeswoman Brandy Gill said she did not yet have any information on the training.

Investigators have not determined the cause of the fire, or whether it was related to the training.

The fire started amid dry, windy weather and scorched five square miles (13 square kilometers).

Gill said she had no information on whether Fort Carson has restrictions on training on days like Friday, when wildfire danger is high, or whether training guidelines were under review.

Col. Ron Fitch, Fort Carson's garrison commander, said at a news conference Friday the training had to go on despite the conditions because the soldiers were preparing to deploy overseas.

"We have to train in order to prepare those soldiers," he said.

The training involved infantry and helicopters, Fitch said.

The fire was contained by Monday, although some trash piles and old tires continued to burn.

At least 250 homes were evacuated during the fire. Most residents have been told they can return, but five homes remained under evacuation orders Monday because they were near the remaining fires, El Paso County sheriff's spokeswoman Natalie Sosa said.

Sosa said firefighting crews discovered an illegal marijuana growing operation in the area Saturday.

Officers got a search warrant and seized more than 100 plants. No arrests have been made, she said.

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