Courtesy of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest
SPARKS, Nev. – With summer here and more people heading outdoors to enjoy the season, the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest would like to remind visitors and residents in communities adjacent to the Forest to be extra cautious while engaging in activities that could start a wildfire.
Weather conditions have been changing in the past couple of weeks with consistently higher temperatures and decreased humidity levels, resulting in drier vegetation that is more prone to the spread of wildfire. Pay attention to your surroundings; be aware of wildfire conditions; and think clearly before conducting any activity that could cause an unwanted fire.
This is especially true for people engaging in target shooting on public lands. 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.
“We all have a role to play in preventing human-caused wildfires, which annually threaten human life, private property, and public land resources,” said Russ Bird, Forest Fire Management Officer. “It would also help public land managers if target shooters warn others of potential dangers and behaviors for starting wildfires.”
Remember, a little extra care takes only a few minutes of a person’s time and could prevent a wildfire. Below are a few target shooting safety tips:
· While shooting, have a five gallon bucket of water or 2.5 pound fully charged fire extinguisher readily available to put out a fire if one starts.
· Bring a shovel. Use the shovel to dig a trench around 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 environment. Refrain from shooting steel targets during hot, dry, and windy conditions.
· Place targets on dirt or gravel areas clear of vegetation. Placing a target in dry grass increases the risk of fire.
· Do not shoot trash and remove spent cartridges. Trash like old couches and TVs can often be found illegally dumped on public lands, but can be dangerous fire hazards when shot.
· Be aware that all types of ammunition can start fires under the right conditions. To avoid a chance of sparking, do not use solid copper, steel-core, or steel-jacketed ammunition and always avoid shooting in rocky areas.
· Fireworks, exploding targets, and incendiary or tracer ammo are PROHIBITED on public lands.
· Do not smoke. Even if people are following all safety precautions in regard to shooting, they can still easily start a wildfire by smoking.
· 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.
“We encourage people to enjoy their National Forest System lands, but be very cautious and careful out there.” said Bird.
For information on current fire restrictions and the Forest, please visit www.fs.usda.gov/htnf or participate in the conversation at https://twitter.com/HumboldtToiyabe and https://facebook.com/HumboldtToiyabeNF/.