Throughout the history of JBLM, units training here have used military munitions in live-fire training. Military munitions that are used, but fail to function as intended, are called UXO - or unexploded ordnance. Areas known to contain UXO on JBLM are marked and controlled, such as the Central and Artillery Impact Areas on JBLM Lewis Main, and the primary impact area on JBLM Yakima Training Center. Research over that past few years, however, has shown us that a large amount of the property we now call JBLM has been used to conduct and support live-fire training in the past. This has resulted in the possibility of encountering UXO in areas that are not marked and may not appear hazardous.
Most areas inside the fenced cantonment area of the base, that is the areas inside the gates, have been cleared of former munitions and debris through years of construction, development, and daily use. Increased construction over the past several years, and research into old maps and documents has shown us that some areas assumed to be free of hazards may, in fact, contain UXO or other munitions debris. When those areas are discovered, they are closed to public access, and generally remediated if access is needed for the longer term.
On JBLM, many of the current training areas are perfectly safe for public use, so long as visitors get authorization to enter in advance, and as long as they do not dig into the soil without a dig permit. However, some areas are in use for current training at almost all times; others have been used for live fire or other training over the years and may contain UXO hazards. For these reasons, no one is allowed to enter any of JBLM training area unless they have obtained permission in advance from the applicable JBLM Range Control.*See note
When anyone encounters or believes they may have encountered a munition, they should consider it extremely dangerous. To protect their family, friends and neighbors, everyone should learn and follow the 3Rs of explosives safety: Recognize—when you may have encountered a munition and the potential danger; Retreat—do not touch, move or disturb it; Report—notify local law enforcement of what you saw and where you saw it by calling 911.
The Army has established several programs to address the full range of UXO issues, from detection to remediation to long-term monitoring. The Army's UXO Safety program is designed to educate military personnel and civilians alike about the potential hazards associated with UXO.
This page is intended to provide educational, training and outreach resources for anyone potentially affected by UXO as well as guidance on what to do, should they encounter or suspect they have encountered UXO.
The 3Rs of Explosive Safety
Recognize - Recognizing when you may have encountered a munition is key to reducing the risk of injury or death. If you encounter or suspect you may have encountered a munition, consider it extremely dangerous. Remember, munitions are sometimes hard to identify.
Retreat - If you encounter or suspect you may have encountered a munition, do not touch, move or disturb it, but immediately and carefully - do not run - leave the area following the same path on which you entered. If you can, mark the general area, not the munition, in some manner (e.g., with a hat, piece of cloth, or tying a piece of plastic to a tree branch).
Report - When you think you may have encountered a munition, notify your local law enforcement by calling 911.
*Note: All persons who want to enter a JBLM training area must obtain an area access permit. To learn more about legally and safely using JBLM’s training areas, contact the JBLM Range Control Office at 253-967-6371.