BLM Releases Tips For Target Shooting This Fire Season
The Bureau of Land Management in the Carson City District is asking the public to be mindful of target shooting on public lands and to take precautions in light of the Chaves Fire that burned over 3,000 acres this week.
,” said Ryan Elliott. Lead Fire Investigator assigned to BLM’s Carson City District.
,” said Casey Jones, Fire Technician with the U.S. Forest Service.
,” said Rick Collup.
Here are some tips to ensure shooters protect public lands and prevent wildfires from starting:
• Place your targets on dirt or gravel areas clear of vegetation and avoid shooting into rocky areas. Placing a target in dry grass increases the risk of fire.
• Shoot at quality steel targets designed to minimize risks to both the shooter and the environment. For steel targets to be functional and safe, they should be made of high quality through hardened steel that has a Brinell hardness number of at least 500. Refrain from shooting steel targets during hot, dry and windy conditions.
• Bring a shovel. Use the shovel to dig a trench around your targets before shooting to ensure that any fire caused by sparks can be easily contained.
• Don’t shoot at exploding targets, you can increase your chances of starting a fire.
• Don’t use incendiary or tracer ammo – Incendiary and tracer ammo are always prohibited on public lands.
• Be aware that all types of ammunition can start fires under the right conditions especially steel core ammunition. To avoid a chance of sparking, do not use steel core ammunition and always avoid shooting in rocky areas. A study of ignition by rifle bullets was published by the USDA Rocky Mountain Research Station. The paper can be found at https://www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs/rmrs_rp104.pdf
• Bring a container of water. This may seem obvious, but shooters often fail to bring enough water to put a fire out. A five gallon bucket of water readily available while shooting could prevent a disaster if a fire does start.
• Don’t shoot trash. Trash like old couches and TVs can often be found illegally dumped on public land but can be dangerous fire hazards when shot.
• Be cautious with smoking. Even if you’re following all safety precautions in regard to shooting, you can still easily start a wildfire by smoking. If you’re shooting in a dry location, make sure that all cigarette butts are properly extinguished or avoid smoking at all.
• Park your vehicle away from dry grass. Wildfires have been started by vehicles parked in dry grass. While it may not seem like a hazard, the hot undercarriage of a car or truck can easily create enough heat to ignite the grass.
• Please shoot responsibly, clean up after shooting and “Tread Lightly” on public land.
The BLM of Carson City said that any target shooters that start a fire will be held liable for paying suppression costs and anyone who causes and leaves the scene without reporting it could be charged criminally.
(BLM, Carson City District, contributed to this report).