Here we go again. "Wildfire victims beg for cease-fire". This sounds like the people who buy a house next to an airport and then scream about the noise! These people started buying and building after Camp Williams was emplaced. They probably wanted the piece and quite and for thirty years they were happy. A situation happens and these same people want to essentially shut down Camp Williams. Does anyone remember that we have units in combat, that successful military "fights like it trains", that guardsmen need live fire to train. I will admit that ORM (Operational Risk Management) failed in this instance but that does not mean that Williams needs to shut down live fire.
I would like to see the original boundaries of Camp Williams with its' original buffer zone. I would imagine that over the years county zoning boards moved those boundaries to allow for more growth towards Camp Williams. Previously, live fire was not a problem with greater buffer zones. Previously, live fire was probably not required as it is not because of the times. Now with active commitments worldwide, military units need to live fire more often.
Moving the exercises is not an option. Monies in the defense budget are tight, fuel costs for transportation are high, and transportation accessibility may not available. The USAF heavy lifters are weight limited, medium lifters are severely tasked and the Army does not have its' own air wing.
I do not have a solution to this problem that has been highlighted by the fire, and I am sure the lawyers are licking their chops, but I thing a re-examination of the Camp William buffer zones need to be look at. If necessary, buy these people out and extend the boundaries.
John S. Hill