The California fire

The blaze – known as the Hare Fire, which was part of the Kirk Complex – started as a result of a severe lightning storm Sept. 8, 1999, and wasn’t declared out until it was almost time to turn over the October page on the calendar. Lightning striking the ground during central California’s dry season, which runs from about May through November, ignited several individual blazes that combined to form a major forest fire.

Before it was extinguished, the fire scorched more than 86,700 acres of the Ventana Wilderness, located in the Los Padres National Forest about 65 miles south of Monterey, Calif., near the Pacific Ocean. The Kirk Complex fire was declared the ninth-largest U.S. fire in 1999 and cost more $80 million to combat. (See for more information.)

Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., under control of the Army Reserve Command, is the eighth-largest Army installation in the country. Hunter Liggett, which occupies 165,000 acres, is situated adjacent to the Ventana Wilderness in an isolated area of southern Monterey County, Calif.

The installation – with all its ranges, classrooms, tactical-assault airstrip and unique training areas that mimic terrain found in Europe and Korea – offers premier training opportunities for all Defense Department armed forces.

More information about training opportunities at the fort or about the fire may be found at More information on the fire can also be obtained from the following websites:;;; or

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