188th Wing Talks About Unexplained Lights In Fort Smith Area

FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- On Wednesday (August 1), videos and photos surfaced of unexplained bright lights spotted in the sky by people in our area on Tuesday (July 31) night.

“We weren’t sure if it could’ve been a missile. I didn’t think it was fireworks or anything like that. I was pretty sure it wasn’t a UFO,” said Becky Lawson, who was one of many people who took a video of the lights on her cell phone.

At the time, Lawson said she was driving with her husband, David, on Highway 22 and 96. She noticed plenty of other people pulled over to the side of the road to look up at the sky.

However, 5NEWS looked into the logical explanation for it.

"We had C-130s overhead. A cargo aircraft that can drop flares that act as battle illumination flares," said Lieutenant Colonel Drew Nash of the 188th Wing in Fort Smith. "They ignite, and they have a parachute suspending them in the sky, which is what kind of makes them look like the UFO."

Nash says they dropped them at Razorback Range in Fort Smith, which is located on the Fort Chaffee Maneuver Training Center. He adds that these lights are so bright that they can illuminate a few hundred acres as once and can be seen from about 20 miles away.

Essentially, Nash says it was just run-of-the-milling training that shows them the operating capabilities they have on battlefields overseas.

"These flares have been used for decades, but I can understand why the community would be curious because we haven't put them out at Razorback recently,” Nash remarked.

Nash says you can expect to see these flares, again, sometime in the near future.