APG fire spreads to 900 acres

chief optimistic

November 09, 2001|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

A stubborn fire burned leaves, branches and underbrush yesterday for a fourth day at Aberdeen Proving Ground, on firing ranges and in woods near the center of the Aberdeen peninsula.

The fire, repeatedly whipped up by wind, has burned 900 to 1,000 acres in restricted testing areas, said Patricia McClung, an installation spokeswoman.

An M-88 tank recovery vehicle was brought in yesterday to break open smoldering tree stumps, which could then be doused with water from helicopters, said James Fasig, technical director of the Army Aberdeen Test Center.

A change in wind direction yesterday left a grayish sky and a smoky smell in the air in nearby Aberdeen. APG received about 30 calls from residents concerned about the fire's location and the smoke, McClung said.

The blaze remained far from environmental cleanup sites that hold old munitions and hazardous chemicals, installation officials said.

McClung said the installation's fire chief, Charlie Jones, was heartened by an overnight weather forecast calling for a front with light rain. "The wind should change to the northwest and drive it [the fire] back to where it came from," she said.

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