Beginning in 1942, the government acquired approximately 218,881 acres in Highlands, Okeechobee and Polk Counties in central Florida to establish Avon Park Army Airfield. After the war ended, the military transferred 112,771.6 acres of land east of the Kissimmee River in Okeechobee County to other entities while maintaining about 106,000 acres west of the Kissimmee River and currently uses it for the Avon Park Air Force Range.
The 112,771.6 acres along with a 1.36-acre area along Arbuckle Creek in Highlands County comprises the Formerly Used Defense Site. The Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park encompasses a large portion of the former training area.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) finalized a Remedial Investigation in June 2018 to evaluate potential impacts to people or the environment associated with the Army's training. Based on the results of the Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study, USACE divided the site into two Munitions Response Sites: Remaining Lands (59,562.28 acres), which includes all the land on the east side of the Kissimmee River, and Arbuckle Creek Fuze Disposal Area (1.36 acres). No further action is required for Remaining Lands.
Toward the end of World War II, bomb fuzes were inappropriately disposed of by dropping them off a bridge over Arbuckle Creek at the back entrance of the Avon Park Army Airfield, near what is known today as the burnt out bridge. Fuzes could still be present along the banks and in the water. Therefore, USACE is conducting a Remedial Action to search for and remove any remaining fuzes.
Even though the fuzes are old, they could still be dangerous. Always remember and follow the 3Rs of explosive safety: Recognize, Retreat, Report.
RECOGNIZE - The object you found could be dangerous.
RETREAT - Leave the area without touching or moving the object.
REPORT - Call 911 immediately.