Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Tracer Burn

Tracers are fun, and very useful from a military perspective.  But, they burn.

One of the big headaches with tracer burn was that, dropped into dry ground, they might ignite dry fuel laying on the ground.  Leave, twigs, etc.  And the unit conducting the firing was responsible for putting out the fire.  So, you'd have this cool live-fire going one and suddenly you'd be in fire fighter mode.

The tracer from the .50 BMG was notorious for this because it carried such a big tracer.  For some reason, tank-gun ammo, which carried a huge tracer, set a whole lot fewer fires than .50 BMG ammo.  Perhaps because when you're shooting the machine gun, you get so much more chances to start a fire.

Sometimes, it comes down a ong way from the range area.  As I recall, the tracer burnout on a .50 was 1600 meters.


Old NFO said...

Tracers do 'interesting' things... And have a different trajectory than a standard bullet.

Dave said...

Don't know if you ever spent time at t he Yakima Firing/Training Center in eastern WA, but when you're shooting out there in the summer they actually make you remove the tracers from belted ammo due to the fire hazard. And they have 2 or 3 Chinooks with water buckets on strip alert. (The eastern boundary of the reservation is a dammed up section of the Columbia River.)

There was one time when range control dorked up rather spectacularly and allowed a mortar range to go on with it's planned firing, despite dry and windy conditions. Planned firing of Willie Pete.

That was a rather large range fire.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in San Clemente, just north of Camp Pendleton. Seeing huge plumes of smoke coming from Pendleton was a regular occurrence. That was during the late 80's & well into the 90's. I think they got a lot better at fire discipline since then.