The Kirtland Demolition Bombing Range Formerly Used Defense Site, or FUDS, consists of 5,790 acres in Cibola County, New Mexico. The site is located in west-central New Mexico, approximately 90 miles west of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and 20 miles south-southwest of Grants, New Mexico.
In 1943, the U.S. Army acquired 9 square miles of rugged lava fields in Cibola County to build a demolition bombing range. Pilots from Kirtland Army Air Field in Albuquerque dropped live bombs on the range upon completion of the Army Air Forces bombardier training program. However, Kirtland closed the range after 10 months, because the location and rugged terrain made it impracticable to maintain the targets. In 1947, Kirtland Army Air Field became Kirtland Air Force Base, and the Department of Defense transferred the Demolition Bombing Range to the Bureau of Land Management. In 1987, the land became part of El Malpais National Monument and management transferred to the National Park Service.
Since DOD closed the range, the Army has responded to numerous findings of bombs on or near the former range. In 1994 and 1995, the Army National Guard performed two surface clearances on approximately 4 square miles at the former range. The clearance reports document the identification and destruction of general purpose bombs and fuzes, and note that the rugged terrain will impede the complete removal of munitions hazards.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began investigating the former Kirtland Demolition Bombing Range in 1990 through the FUDS Program. Subsequent investigations have identified munitions debris and munitions and explosives of concern on the former range.
In June 2019, the Army Corps of Engineers completed the Decision Document for the Kirtland Demolition Bombing Range. The document records Educational Awareness as the selected remedial alternative. This remedy will involve the installation of signs and the development and distribution of fact sheets or brochures, an information kiosk, and a public outreach campaign. An educational awareness program would focus on providing information regarding the appropriate response if munitions are encountered. Long-term monitoring, which includes recurring reviews, will be conducted to ensure that the selected remedy remains protective of human health and the environment.
The Administrative Record containing project documents including the Decision Document is available at the Mother Whiteside Memorial Library in Grants, New Mexico.