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Target shooting may cause wildfires

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CARSON CITY -- The Bureau of Land Management, Carson City District and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Western Nevada Agency would like the community to be aware of the risk of wildfire when target shooting due to dry windy conditions and hot temperatures.

Numerous wildfires have been started by target shooting in past years in many western states including Nevada, Utah, Idaho, New Mexico, Arizona and Washington. Many of those fires could have been prevented or stopped had the shooters been prepared or refrained from shooting during hot, dry and windy conditions.

“Awareness that wildfires can occur from shooting is the most important thing," said Shane McDonald, fire management officer. "If people are aware that it can happen, we hope they will make safer choices.”

Safety tips to prevent wildfires while target shooting include:

-- 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.

-- 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.

-- Shoot at quality steel targets designed to minimize risks to both the shooter and the environment. Refrain from shooting steel targets during hot, dry and windy conditions.

-- Place your targets on dirt or gravel areas clear of vegetation. Placing a target in dry grass increases the risk of fire.

-- Don’t shoot trash and remove your spent cartridges. Trash like old couches and TVs can often be found illegally dumped on public land but can be dangerous fire hazards when shot.

-- 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.

-- Never use fireworks. Fireworks are illegal to use on public lands. Exploding targets are prohibited under a fire prevention order on public lands.

-- Don’t use incendiary or tracer ammo. Incendiary and tracer ammo is also prohibited on public lands during fire restrictions.

-- Don’t smoke. 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.

--Shoot responsibly, clean up after shooting and tread lightly on public land.

“Everyone is encouraged to safely enjoy the public lands, bearing in mind that human-caused fires annually threaten human life, private property and public land resources”, McDonald added.

For information, contact Lisa Ross at 885-6107.


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