Sen. Baldwin seeks answers on US Army prescribed burn protocol after Arcadia fire

Scenes from the fire near Fort McCoy on Wednesday, April 12, 2023
Scenes from the fire near Fort McCoy on Wednesday, April 12, 2023(Darren Gates)
Published: Apr. 24, 2023 at 10:45 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Wisconsin U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin is calling on the U.S. Army for more information on its prescribed burn policy. This comes after the more than 3,000-acre Arcadia wildfire tore through the military installation and area surrounding it.

In a letter to Army Secretary Christine Wormuth, Baldwin (D-WI) asked about the Army’s risk assessment and mitigation measures for prescribed burns on military installations. Topics of her questioning include what level of authority approves a prescribed burn and how the Army coordinates with state agencies when conducting prescribed burns. She also questioned how the Army is going to clean up the area after the Arcadia fire.

“It is imperative that we protect the areas both in and around our military installations, and that the Department of Defense use all resources available to ensure appropriate risk mitigation when conducting operations that have a direct impact on the environment and communities,” Sen. Baldwin said.

Fort McCoy Maj. Gen. Matthew Baker, Commanding General of the 88th Readiness Division, said during a news conference the week of the fire that the cause remains unknown and that there will be an in-depth investigation. DNR reiterated Friday, April 14, that the inquiry is underway but cautioned that such investigations may not be wrapped up quickly.

Baldwin’s full letter can be found here.

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