Air Force plans large detonations at Utah Test and Training Range

The Air Force detonates a solid-rocket motor June 2, 2015, at the Utah Test and Training Range in Utah. A series of large detonation operations will begin on July 15 and last through the end of August.

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Detonation season will start soon for Hill Air Force Base.

The U.S. Air Force will resume large detonation operations beginning Monday, July 15 and continuing through the end of August at the Utah Test and Training Range, according to a news release from HAFB.

The detonations will include rocket motors and solid propellant of Air Force and Navy ballistic missiles, and should happen two or three times a week. The UTTR is located in the West Desert, nearly 80 miles from Salt Lake City.

“Detonation is the best environmental method for disposing of the rocket motors and propellant,” said Michelle Cottle, the environmental branch chief for the 75th Civil Engineer Group, in the release.

The goal of the detonations is to reduce the amount of aged propellant and ballistic missiles in support of international treaties. More than 300 rocket motors have been destroyed since 2012.

The Air Force takes atmospheric readings and enters them into a sound model to determine if conditions are acceptable for a large detonation, the release said. Detonations are delayed if base officials determine the noise will be louder than permitted levels along the Wasatch Front.

Large detonations involve more than 10,000 pounds of net explosive weight.

“The UTTR is the only location in the United States capable of destroying these missile motors and we do everything possible to do this work without adversely affecting those around us,” Cottle said.

Reach city editor Jessica Kokesh at 801-625-4229 or You can also follow her on Twitter at @JessicaKokesh.

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