Range fire burns 4 acres


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Anna
August 11, 2008, 12:17 PM
I've always wondered about the possibility of grass fires at the local gun club, especially the rifle range. Well, this was front page news (http://www.ukiahdailyjournal.com/ukiahnews/ci_10154937) yesterday in my neck of the woods.

A spark from a bullet may be to blame for a fire that spread to around four acres of grass and oak forest at the Ukiah Gun Club Saturday before it was contained by firefighters.

The fire started at the northern end of the rifle range where Ace Hanwood was firing a rifle at around 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

"It started right there and then just ran right up that hill," said Bill Bays, caretaker of the Gun Club.

Hanwood said he was firing his Enfield rifle down the range just before the fire started.

"I turned around to get another magazine and when I looked back the fire was going," he said.

Hanwood speculated that a spark from one of his shots at a metal target may have been carried into the dry grass by the wind and started the fire.
"It wasn't all that big at first," Hanwood said. "I went up there to stomp it out but the wind took it and ran away up the hill."

From there, Ukiah Valley Fire District Chief Dan Grebil said the fire ran north up a draw and over the hills on either side.

I just hope that there won't be renewed calls to shut down the club. After the forest fires we've had the last couple of months, some people tend to be paranoid and tend to overreact.

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TallPine
August 11, 2008, 12:27 PM
Well, a week ago at a neighbor's place, a wind storm blew some overhead wires together causing a spark that burned corrals, sheds, and several acres of wheat.

So let's ban electricity :rolleyes:

Tirod
August 11, 2008, 01:07 PM
Range fires happen all the time in the military. Some we put out, some we just told Range Control and they said "Leave it alone." Liability and injury to untrained "firefighters" can be issues.

My local pistol club range is situated on an former lead mine site. No vegetation, and the gravel is already contaminated. It should be this good for everybody. It's no small expense, but a plowed perimeter treated with weedkiller could reduce the fire hazard. It's no good to just do nothing.

SwampFox
August 11, 2008, 08:48 PM
Burn Management might be something to consider if your range is in a fire prone area.

Set up a fire break and start a back burn.

Sheldon J
August 11, 2008, 09:14 PM
A single drop of dew can act as a magnifying lens and start a fire too, they are grasping at straws since copper N lead do not spark when they hit a rock.

Zoogster
August 11, 2008, 09:26 PM
Here in CA we have fires all the time. I have had dozens of fires within a few miles of me within the last year.
The causes have been all sorts of things.
From people clearing brush in case of a fire, and using power tools to do it that actualy caused a fire. To many fires started by electrical lines overloading, transformers sparking and exploding etc.
We get the occasional firebug out starting them, controlled burns out of control or other intentional or negligent acts.

Then there was a couple thousand fires about a month ago all over the state, most started by lightning when a storm went through the northern half of the state.


People shooting need to be careful. People doing many things in fire prone areas need to be careful.
If you start a fire, even accidentaly you are responsible for the cost of fighting it at least here in CA, the cost of damages etc
It usualy costs tens of thousands to a few million to pay for helicopters, fixed wing aircraft, and other assets needed.
For even minor fires they tend to call in the heavy equipment near where I live to put them out before they get out of hand. The bill for fighting such things would be tremendous, and the individual responsible is given the bill.

Of course you can be criminaly liable too if they go that route for negligence.

Watch what you do, don't use flammable materials as your backdrop. Dirt mounds and similar safe backdrops do not light on fire.
Make sure your brass is not being thrown into brush or bushes.

It really is not that tough to do. You have to take similar precations using power tools and other equipment in the same conditions.

Double Naught Spy
August 11, 2008, 10:34 PM
A single drop of dew can act as a magnifying lens and start a fire too, they are grasping at straws since copper N lead do not spark when they hit a rock.

First of all, they suggested the spark came from hitting a steel target. Secondly, copper and lead may not spark per se, but they superheat from impact, turn molten, and hence be hot enough to emit light, which is pretty darned hot.

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