We reported earlier this week that a wildfire in southern Idaho posed a threat to the pilot training range used by Mountain Home AFB, Idaho, but the base’s fire chief, Cliff Lewis, says there’s currently no threat to the training ranges from the still-burning fire. SrA. Megan Lyon reports that two large wildfires caused by lightning strikes combined into one massive fire, burning more than 572,000 square miles in southern Idaho. Lewis noted that the wildfire never came closer than 35 miles of the main base, but it did come within five miles of the Juniper Butte training range. Base aircraft are flying above 10,000 feet in some areas of the training airspace to stay out of the way of firefighting aircraft.
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.