Located North of Hope, Arkansas, the 50,078-acre Southwestern Proving Ground was used by the U.S. Army between 1942 and 1945 to test small arms ammunition, 20 to 155 mm projectiles, mortars, rockets, grenades, and up to 500-pound bombs. The proving ground was closed shortly after World War II and ordnance was cleared from the surface of the land. The land was then conveyed to state, municipal and private owners. Since the clearance after World War II, munitions and explosives of concern have surfaced. The ordnance could be explosive and dangerous despite being more than 50 years old. Seven civilian deaths occurred immediatly following the war from two incidents. However, past reports of around 26 fatalities have not been confirmed.
More than 8,111 ordnance items have been removed from private property to date. In addition, educational displays and programs have been implemented to inform the public of the risk and to encourage appropriate behavior to minimize risk. Because of the proving ground's large area and the widespread occurrence of ordnance, the risk cannot be completely eliminated. Additional munitions and explosives of concern could be found in the future.