(7) The disposal of nerve and blister agents by burning will create a significant downwind
hazard to unprotected personnel. The extent of the actual hazard cannot be accurately
computed since it will depend on the efficiency of the burning pit and the ambient weather
conditions. Using the ABC M2 calculator, the maximum downwind hazard distance and
cloud width may be calculated by assuming a total release of all the agent. If the disposal
operation is successful, i.e., the munition is properly opened and the pit burns vigorously, a
high percentage of the agent will be destroyed and the actual hazard area will be much less
than the maximum calculated. If however, the operation is not completely successful, the
computed downwind hazard area will have provided an adequate exclusion area for
unprotected personnel downwind.
(8) After the fire has burned out and the pit has cooled for a minimum of 12 hours, the pit, its
or any other hazardous items.
(9) During peacetime, nerve agents cannot be disposed of by open pit burning. Specially
approved DARCOM procedures will be established covering peacetime disposal of nerve
(10) Riot control, incendiary and colored smoke agents may also be disposed of by burning.
The quantity that can be destroyed in a single operation is generally limited only by the type
of agent and the downwind travel of the agent/smoke cloud. Burning large stacks of small
incendiaries should be avoided since explosions and scattering of incompletely destroyed
munitions may result.
(11) The advantages of burning as a method of disposal are that the hazard to operating
personnel is small and large quantities can be disposed of economically.
b. Closed Pit Burning. Small biological munitions can be effectively destroyed by burning with
thermate incendiaries in a closed pit.
(1) The pit should have a minimum depth of 1 meter (3 feet) and should be large enough to
accommodate the munition being destroyed.
(2) Secure some type of a thermate incendiary device, preferably two or more thermate
grenades on top of the munition. Dual prime for remote electric or nonelectric firing and
place in bottom of the pit.