VR Keeps Soldiers Training Through The Smoke

VR Keeps Soldiers Training Through The Smoke
October 14, 2020

Officials at the Fort Hunter Liggett military base say the air quality on Tuesday was just below 100 AQI…anything over that level is considered unhealthy.


All training except for firearms has either been moved indoors or delayed due to smoky air conditions.  


“It’s going to be a risk, we monitor it daily, multiple times a day,” says Shawn Sullivan, FHL Director of Emergency Services.


Fire officials on site say they are also working nonstop to contain the fire while military base officials are trying to look out for their own…about 1,000 soldiers.


A commanding general on the base says medical resources are on site and N-95 masks were given out to the soldiers for protection, but fire officials say there is still concern for the risk of smoke inhalation.


“it’s serious when you have a haze like this, it’s the small particles that really impact our lungs, so populations that are at risk, asthma, cardiac, pregnant women, children, everyone needs to be paying attention to the smoke reports,” says Dolan fire Information Officer Kale Casey.


 Shane Buzza, 91st Training Division Commanding General says the delays caused by the Dolan fire only add to the challenges they already have while training during a pandemic.


“We only have so much time, especially in the army reserve to train our soldiers, these training opportunities are few and far between,” Says Buzza.


But, he says they are still trying to make most of their resources, some of which not many soldiers get to experience.


The Fort Hunter Liggett base currently holds one of the only two virtual training rooms available in the reserve to keep soldiers on top of their training regardless of air quality outside. 


They say these virtual training programs are now a standard form of practice at the base.


“We can train to army standards and we can keep our soldiers ready to answer the call when the nation needs them,” says Buzza.


Commanding General Buzza says they do have an evacuation and relocation plan in place if the fire were to spread. 


He also says that at any given time, they are prepared to lend a hand in the fight against the fire if need be.


Officials on site say if the air quality continues to improve, regular outdoor training can resume as soon as Wednesday.

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