The Army says Fort Wainwright Garrison commander Colonel Ron Johnson might have been overstating it when he told residents of Pleasant Valley and Two Rivers last Saturday night that artillery training exercises had started the Stuart Creek Two wildfire.
All questions are now being referred to Major Alan Brown in Anchorage, Army Alaska Public Affairs Chief.
“Right now, our position is we can’t make an official determination on exactly what caused it,” Brown said. “Are there indications that this fire was directly related to our artillery training in mid June? Yes there are, and that’s something we’re going to take a close look at when we’re able to do a very thorough review of all the information surrounding the fire.”
Brown says their main priority now is getting the fire under control and making sure the citizens of the borough of Fairbanks are safe and can return home. He couldn’t say if the department of defense would help pay for the fire fighting, but he says if citizens feel they’ve been harmed, there is a process.
“Should anyone up in Fairbanks determine there was damage done to their property or they feel like something was done that was the fault of the Army,then we do have a claims process that they can follow through on and each claim will be looked at individually, on its own merit,” Brown said.
Brown does not say much beyond that, and has declined to release the fire mitigation plan used for the artillery exercise in question, saying it’s under investigation.