Unexploded shell disposal triggers Hansen forest fire

A forest fire swept across a section of forest at Camp Hansen in Kin Town, not far from a section of a firing range.

U.S. Forces firefighting equipment and a helicopter spent nearly four and half hours battling the blaze before extinguishing it about 5:58 p.m. A report from U.S. Forces to the Okinawa Defense Bureau reports the cause of the fire was disposal of an unexploded shell.

Kin Town officials say forest fires are not uncommon at Camp Hanson at some times of the year. This forest fire was the largest scale, with smoke rising for some five hours. Kenichi Gino, head of Igei District close to the site, said he heard a loud explosive sound just after noon on the day of the fire. He requested rapid firefighting assistance, noting “here are residents who feel uneasy about smoke coming. Greens on the hill were lost.”