Fuzzy picture of a grenade lying in the sand
This fuzzy picture is the 40 mm grenade the camper found. Never pick up or move anything like this!

Recognize, Retreat, Report!

An unexploded 40 millimeter grenade found by a camper in the Dunebuggy Flats camp area at the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area was successfully (and safely) detonated by the Imperial County Arson and Bomb Unit on Saturday, November 5, 2011.  The camper who found the device made the mistake of taking it back to his camp.  Once park rangers were advised of the situation, the area was flagged to keep other visitors away, and the Bomb Unit was called.  Technicians from the Bomb Unit determined that the device needed to be disposed of onsite, and destroyed it with C-4 plastic explosive.

Visitors to the Imperial Sand Dunes and other Imperial Valley desert locations are reminded that unexploded ordnance (UXO) is often very unstable and dangerous.  Because not every bomb looks like a bomb, keep away from strange looking devices and contact authorities immediately.  Here are some guidelines to follow should you encounter a UXO:



• If you see UXO, STOP,  do not move closer.
• Do NOT transmit radio frequencies near UXO (this includes cell phones, two-way radios or citizen’s band radio.  Keep at least 100 ft. away).
• NEVER touch, move, or disturb UXO.
• NEVER remove anything near UXO.
• Call 911 and report UXO. Move 100 ft. away before using cell phone or radio.
• Avoid any area where UXO is located.

Remember:  Recognize.  Retreat.  Report.


a man works on wiring a device lying on the sand
A technician from Imperial County Arson and Bomb Unit rigs the charge that will be used to detonate the device.

The device is successfully detonated:
smoke rises into the sky from an expanse of sand

– Joya Szalwinski, BLM interpretive park ranger, Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area, 11/9/11



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