Subject: Small Forest Fire Near Area 51
From: campbell@ufomind.com (Glenn Campbell)
Newsgroups: alt.conspiracy.area51
Date: Sun, 14 Jul 1996 15:53:28 -0700
Organization: Area 51 Research Center
Lines: 43

Small Forest Fire Near Area 51

July 14, 1996, 3:30 pm PT

Word has reached me that there is a small forest fire in the Groom 
Mountain Range about 15 miles NE of Area 51.  The fire itself 
seems unremarkable, probably caused by lightning in the area, but 
it's location is mildly interesting, since it may be within a 
restricted military area.

My assistant in Rachel says she saw the flames and smoke while 
driving on Route 375 in the Tikaboo Valley.  The fire was in the 
foothills on the east side of the Groom Mountain Range, probably 
just out of sight of Area 51 but within the Air Force restricted 
zone.  This area is close to White Sides mountain, the viewpoint 
into the Groom Lake base that was closed by the Air Force last 
year.  The fire cannot be seen from Rachel.  Current whether in 
the area is cloudy with occasional rain, suggesting lightning was 
the cause of the fire. 

The fire could burn itself out, or it might consume more of the 
forest areas of the Groom Mountain Range.  The Groom Range was 
withdrawn by the military in the 1980s as a buffer zone for the 
base.  The base itself is not in any danger from the fire, 
however, since the mountain range is about 10 miles from the base 
at the closest, and there is empty desert in-between.

More interesting is the jurisdictional problems in fighting a fire 
like this.  Will the Air Force let BLM firefighters into this 
restricted military area to fight the blaze?  Will they need 
security clearances?  What would happen if the fire was much 
closer to the base?  Would the Air Force have the resources to 
fight the fire on its own, or would it require outside assistance?

If the fire burns out, this is a non-story, but if it continues, 
it could be interesting.  I will post any new information that 
comes to me.

Glenn Campbell

-- 
Area 51 Research Center - Las Vegas & Rachel, Nevada
http://www.ufomind.com

FIRE FOLLOWUP - 7/20

As of 7/17, the fire in the Groom Range was out.  It generated a 
lot of smoke, but was apparently extinguished within 24 hours.

A Las Vegas reporter called BLM about it.  A BLM representative 
said they were aware of the fire, but they weren't doing anything 
about it.  It was on military land, and BLM firefighters could 
enter military land only if invited -- and they weren't.  This 
suggests that the Air Force has its own forest fire equipment.

A Rachel resident gave me photos of the fire.  Smoke filled the 
Tikaboo Valley late Sunday afternoon.  Nearest I can tell from the 
pictures, the fire was about halfway between White Sides and Bald 
Mountain in the Groom Range.  It must have been in a depressed 
area, because I could see no burn marks from the Tikaboo Valley 
on my 7/17 visit.  This general area is out of sight of the Groom 
Lake base, but the weekend crew at the base could certainly have 
seen the smoke.  This area is also accessible by a road from the 
base, so there would have been no need for Air Force equipment to 
be seen on public land.

An unconfirmed report by tourists passing through Rachel said that 
vehicles were blocking the dirt roads west of 375 on Monday.

A lightning strike remains the best explanation for the fire.  
Such fires are quite common, caused either by lightning or flares.  
Examination of any satellite image of the area shows many fire 
scars both on and off the range.  The brush in this area isn't 
very thick, so most fires burn themselves out.  Trees are limited 
to the mountain ranges.  Around the Groom Lake base itself, there 
isn't much to burn, so fire isn't a threat there.

Glenn

[ Parent ]

Area 51 Research Center, Rachel, NV 89001

7/16/96