SEOUL — A 20-hour wildfire at Rodriguez Range Monday and Tuesday has Pocheon city officials seeing red.

The fire, which a U.S. Army spokeswoman said was started Monday afternoon by rocket fire from an Apache helicopter, scorched about 7 ½ acres of the training area before firefighters from Pocheon, the Korean Office of Forestry and U.S. Army Garrison Casey could put it out Tuesday morning.

Hilly terrain, access to the training area and a frozen reservoir all contributed to the amount of time it took to get the fire under control, said a Pocheon city official. But the blaze could have been subdued more quickly if it weren’t for what, he said, is a lack of cooperation from the U.S. military.

The officials said firefighters from nearby Camp Casey frequently show up "late" to fires and requests for a helicopter to help fight the fire were ignored.

U.S. Army Garrison Casey spokeswoman Margaret Banish-Donaldson denied the accusations, saying Casey firefighters were on the scene within minutes and a Black Hawk helicopter armed with "Bambi" buckets helped Forestry helicopters fight the fires.

But the official said there is a pattern of neglect when it comes to helping fight fires in the area, and he has records to prove it — though he declined to immediately make them available to Stars and Stripes.

"If this bad cycle repeats itself again," the official said, "the city is prepared to share how the U.S. military neglects its job in putting out their fires with the public.

"We are so upset and angry. Why it always is us to put out a fire while the U.S. troops are the ones to start them on their own firing range? What they do is show up later after we’ve fought hard to control the fire."

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now