Welcome header for Fort Benning Smoke and Sound Website

Welcome to Fort Benning's Smoke and Sound

Col Huerter PhotoWelcome to the “Smoke and Sound” information page. It’s our intent to keep you informed on why and when we will conduct controlled burning on post, so you not only have a better understanding of its necessity, but you can plan for it and adjust your activities, as needed.

This site will also provide information about the types of training we conduct here, when Soldiers will fire live rounds and on which ranges.

As our closest neighbors, we want you to have a better appreciation and understanding of how and why America’s Soldiers train, how Fort Benning’s land management programs impact us all, and how both are vital to the success of our Soldiers, the defense of our nation and to the good stewardship of our installation’s natural resources.

If there is information you desire that is not currently provided on this site, please let us know at usarmy.benning.imcom.mbx.web@mail.mil.

Colonel Gus Huerter
Garrison Commander
Fort Benning, GA

Get the latest information on Smoke and Sound

If you would like to be notified of Fort Benning prescribed burns and firing schedules, please send your email address to usarmy.benning.imcom.mbx.web@mail.mil.

For concerns or more information, contact the Fort Benning Public Affairs Office at 706-545-2238.

Why does Fort Benning conduct this training?

Did you know that Fort Benning fires more ammunition than all other installations? The Maneuver Center fires 42.2 million rounds each year. All of this firing is necessary to train the greatest fighting force in the world. Every day, tens of thousands of Soldiers are deployed to combat environments, and the training they receive at the Maneuver Center ensures they are equipped with the skills necessary to achieve victory against our Nation’s enemies.

Community Notices

Date: Feb. 13, 2015
COMMUNITY NOTICE: Fort Benning conducting prescribed burns this weekend.
FORT BENNING, Ga. - Fort Benning Land Management Branch plans to conduct prescribed burns this weekend if the weather permits. Weather will determine burning conditions and exact locations. Scheduled prescribed burns will occur in the in the A-2, T-1, U-4, V-1 and V-4 training compartments on the eastern boundaries of the reservation.

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Fort Benning Prescribed Burn Areas

DATE: Feb. 11, 2015
FORT BENNING, Ga. – The Fort The Land Management Branch has received a report of smoke currently traveling into Columbus, Sand Hill and Harmony Church cantonment areas. This is coming from a prescribed burn on private property on the Alabama side of the Chattahoochee River.
Currently there are two prescribed burns in progress within the confines of Fort Benning; the smoke from these burns is not expected to leave the reservation.

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DATE: Feb. 6, 2015
COMMUNITY NOTICE: Fort Benning conducting prescribed burns this weekend. FORT BENNING, Ga. – Fort Benning Land Management Branch plans to conduct prescribed burns this weekend if the weather permits. Weather will determine burning conditions and exact locations. Scheduled prescribed burns will occur in the T-1 and J-7 training compartments in the central part of the reservation.

Fort Benning Prescribed Burn Areas
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DATE: Jan. 6, 2015
COMMUNITY NOTICE: Fort Benning heavy weapons firing resumes.
FORT BENNING, Ga. – Fort Benning training resumes this week with 120mm Abrams tank main gun firing that will occur from 9 a.m. to midnight through Friday and Jan. 12 - 16. There will be multiple ranges firing the 120mm gun, therefore community members may notice more sounds during this timeframe.

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DATE: Nov. 18, 2004
FORT BENNING, Ga. - Fort Benning will conduct routine heavy weapons training in the northeast quarter of the reservation through Dec. 19 at Brooks, Ruth, FP-4, Ware, and other ranges on the reservation. During this time most ranges are scheduled to be active from 9 a.m. to midnight and include .50 caliber, 25 mm, and 30 mm weapons.

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DATE: Nov. 6, 2014
FORT BENNING, Ga. – Fort Benning will conduct heavy weapons training in the northeast quarter of the reservation Nov. 6 through Dec. 9, as units conduct required training activities. Community members may notice more sounds during this timeframe.

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DATE: Oct. 21, 2014
FORT BENNING, Ga. – Fort Benning will conduct heavy weapons training in the northeast quarter of the reservation Oct. 20 through Nov. 18, as units conduct required training activities. Community members may notice more sounds during this timeframe.


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Archived Notices

Why the Smoke?

The smoke comes from planned, prescribed burning at Fort Benning that is vital to ensure we mitigate the danger of uncontrolled wildfires. The vast majority of the smoke problems in surrounding communities come from wildfires.

The Fort Benning Land Management Branch plans and conducts prescribed burning when the weather is favorable to control the direction of the smoke and the amount and type of brush that is burned. This controlled burning helps reduce the risk of uncontrolled wildfires on Fort Benning, which could destroy precious natural resources, government assets, or even cause the loss of life.

What does Fort Benning burn?

Fort Benning's Land Management Branch burns approximately 30,000 acres of forested training lands each year. Eighty to eighty-five percent of prescribed burning takes place between late December and early May. Fort Benning foresters reduce smoke impacts by limiting fire size, averaging 250 acres, while paying close attention to weather patterns and moisture conditions.

Every effort is made to control smoke; however, weather conditions can change, resulting in changes to smoke intensity and direction. Fort Benning is located close to several large private and industrial land owners who burn their lands during this time as well. Most land owners follow similar smoke management planning as defined in the State Smoke Management Plans.

Why does Fort Benning burn?

  • Reduce the impact of wildfires by eliminating excess fuel and the danger of catastrophic wildfires
  • Improve usability of training lands
  • Provide ecological maintenance and restoration of habitat critical to threatened and endangered species, such as the red-cockaded woodpecker
  • Enhance wildlife habitat
  • Protect personal property

Why the Loud Sounds?

As the home of our Army's Maneuver Center of Excellence, Fort Benning is now the focal point for preparing Armor, Cavalry and Infantry Soldiers to fight and win the wars of our nation. Therefore, the sounds you hear in the distance from time-to-time are actually the sound of our nation’s Soldiers preparing to take the fight to our enemies.

Proficiency only comes from practice, and is especially true on the battlefield. That's why our Soldiers train; they must be ready to inflict harm on our enemies, while protecting themselves on the battlefield. We do minimize the noise and cost by using simulation to great effect, but we don't want our Soldiers to experience firing the main gun of an M1 Abrams tank for the first time as they are facing off against an enemy on the battlefield. Instead, we make sure they get the realistic training and experience required for success right here on Fort Benning’s training areas.

Prescribed Burning vs. Wildfire: The Impact on Air Quality

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Southern Group of State Foresters agree, although some air pollution is generated by prescribed burning, the net amount is a relatively smaller quantity than produced by wildfires.

If you are healthy, you are not usually at risk from short-term exposures to smoke.

If someone in your family has asthma, heart or lung disease, is an older adult or a child, consider taking precautions to reduce health effects from smoke.

  • Add your name to the SMOKE notification email list to receive advance notice of planned fires on the installation and wildfire alerts.
  • Use common sense: If it looks smoky outside, do not engage in strenuous, outdoor activity.
  • Remain indoors with doors and windows closed.
  • Keep HVAC filters clean and close fresh air intakes.
  • If you must travel, use the re-circulate feature on your vehicle's HVAC.
  • Keep indoor particles low by avoiding activities that stir the air such as vacuuming, or using fans.