Unexploded Ordnance Safety

Misc Fireline Hazards
Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
Feb 2021


Unexploded ordnance (UXO) is most likely to be encountered on military or former military sites. UXO poses risk of injury or death to anyone in the vicinity. 

Situation Awareness

  • Early identification of potential UXO is the first and most important step in reducing risk posed by UXO.
  • Many types of UXO may be encountered:
    • Small arms munitions
    • Guided missiles
    • Rockets
    • Projectiles
    • Mortars
    • Bombs
    • Grenades
    • Sub munitions
  • UXO may be found fully intact or in fragments. ALL UXO presents a potential hazard and should be treated as such.
  • Deteriorated UXO presents a particular hazard because it may contain chemical agents that could become exposed.

Hazard Control

  • If you see UXO, stop and do not move closer.
  • Isolate and clearly mark the area.
  • Deny entry to others.
  • Never transmit radio frequencies near UXO.
  • Never remove anything near UXO.
  • Never touch, move, or disturb UXO.
  • Keep a minimum of 1000 feet away from areas on fire that contain suspected UXO.
  • Report discovery of UXO to your immediate supervisor and/or dispatch.
  • U.S. Army Operations Center for incidents involving explosives and ammunition: (703) 697-0218.



Additional Resources

Incident Management Situation Report (IMSR)
Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461
NWCG Standards for Helicopter Operations, PMS 510
RT-130, Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher (WFSTAR)
Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations (Red Book)
Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center

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