Thousands of people who live on Vandenberg Air Force Base have been impacted by a string of brush fires that began on September 17 that have damaged facilities and infrastructure costing millions of dollars. “Our initial concern was trying to prevent the fires from spreading into the areas around the launch complexes and around the instrumentation that we use to support those launches”, said VAFB Commander Colonel Christopher Moss to base residents at a town hall briefing on base Tuesday night. Col. Moss used large, overhead projections inside the VAFB Theater to illustrate the size and scale of the wildfires that have hit the base over the past week including the Canyon Fire on the South Base that burned more than 10,500 acres. “This really was a fire of historic proportions at Vandenberg, we have not had a fire like this in 40 years”, Col. Moss said, “I will tell you that your airmen on this base did a fantastic job making sure that we were all safe and they did an unbelievable job preserving most of the nationally critical infrastructure that we have on this base from the fires, we did take some damage, but we will be able to work through that, and its beyond a doubt things could have been much, much worse.” There have been several other, smaller fires on the base in addition to the Canyon Fire that required temporary evacuations. Col. Moss says at no time was base housing at risk from any of the brush fires all of which remain under investigation “We have no results back yet from the investigation, as I mentioned, each of the five fires has its own investigator”, Moss said, “so we have five different investigation that are open, they are working through their process now, it is a lengthy process and so we will wait until they come back to us with results of what they find.” Moss says the fully loaded Atlas V rocket awaiting launch on Space Launch Complex 3 was never threatened by the fires. He did not say when the rocket will launch. Moss says security at Vandenberg Air Force Base has been increased in amid the string of wildfires.
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