What are Chaff and Flares?
Chaff and flares are released by military aircraft to avoid detection by air defense systems and other aircraft. According to Holloman’s EIS information, up to 15,360 flares and 15,360 chaff bundles may be released in the MOA above 2,000 feet above ground level. Bundles of chaff contain up to five million aluminum-coated fibers that may remain suspended in the air up to ten hours, and eventually land on the ground. The impact of chaff to wildlife and human health, as well as water quality, is disputed. Flares burn for up to four seconds at temperatures above 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. If released properly, they burn out before landing, but there are documented cases of flares starting fires on the ground, both in forests and towns.
Use of flares can cause wildfires and contribute to air emissions. Deployment of chaff releases contaminants to our air, land and water.
Billings Gazette, October 2, 2010, “Flares, chaff at center of debate”
“Environmental Effects of Radio Frequency (RF) Chaff Released during Military Training Exercises: A Review of the Literature”