Utah is on fire and target shooters are getting the blame... Is this that common?


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why.kyle
June 22, 2012, 02:11 PM
I live in Utah and the last 2 years it seems like half the wildfires we have are claimed to have been started by target shooters.. And I dont get it.

Some one educated me on it.. Im not saying its not possible. It is certainly POSSIBLE.. but how likely is it that its happening so often.
This article from 2 days ago says 19 have been started by target shooters
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/54342335-78/fire-state-utah-shooting.html.csp

Well all know the media knows jack about guns and what they do.

I mean a normal target shooter, not taking into account explosive/reactive targets, doesnt really cause that many sparks, and even if they do the odds of that spark actually causing a fire is on the low side right...

I duno.... Im just rambling because im frustrated and dont understand.. Im worried about what kind of restrictions might be imposed.

There are all kinds of POSSIBILITIES.... Ill say that again.. I know its possible.. but for so many fires I dont how it can happen that much.

Someone explain this to me.

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Gaffer
June 22, 2012, 02:33 PM
The article I read on a national weather site indicated that said fires were being started by shooters who used ammo with steel core bullets which causes sparks and hot fragments when hitting rocks.
Too many shooters are trying to say money and using surplus military ammo that is either steel cores or incendiary in nature. That article also indicated that many target shooters are not using safe ranges but instead are just using wild forest land and in dry conditions, with improper bullets the risk rises dramatically.

It is unfortunate that some shooters without thinking are giving the antis yet another good reason to put limits on our favorite sport. Even lead core bullets from fast varmint loads when shot at steel create a white hot slag as it literally instantaneously melts through steel plates in impact due to the energy involved.

TurtlePhish
June 22, 2012, 02:38 PM
The stuff Gaffer said is true. Us shooters as a whole need to strive to be safe and promote a good image of ourselves to the general public if we want to keep doing what we do. If that means spending a little more on non-steel ammo or using different targets, then so be it. Might be a small inconvenience now, but it's nothing compared to losing the freedom to shoot on public land. In CT, I personally don't have that freedom or the space to exercise it, but I fully support those who do and I'm glad that they can.

rcmodel
June 22, 2012, 02:41 PM
I think it could just as easily be smokers throwing out lit cigarettes.

Or wacko's that like to start fires driving down the same access roads shooters use.

rc

oneounceload
June 22, 2012, 02:51 PM
Another cause are the off-road riders, especially those with no spark arrestors and those who THINK their camp fore is out.

When I lived in NV, we had fires started by some of the stupidiest thing, including a bad one near homes started by two kids dipping lizard tails in lighter fluid and lighting them.

When it gets that dry out there, ANYTHING can cause a fire

hat article also indicated that many target shooters are not using safe ranges but instead are just using wild forest land and in dry conditions

We used BLM and Forest Service land all the time - one of the benefits about that part of the West was all of the wide-open public land -one needs to be careful

SlamFire1
June 22, 2012, 02:52 PM
Could be the military.

My club was having an Across the Course match on a military range, in a period of drought, when the military on the range to the right set the woods on fire.

They were using tracers and everything was dry.

Our match was shut down and we were kicked off for a while.

JohnM
June 22, 2012, 02:57 PM
These rumors and stories about shooters using common ammunition being responsible for starting fires need to be quashed immediately.
A demonstration needs to be put on to show just how difficult if not impossible it would be to light a fire with any normal bullet, AP included, except for using something like tracers.
Hot molten lead? Come on :banghead:
Cigarettes and unattended campfires plus some intentional starts.

Jeff H
June 22, 2012, 03:06 PM
except for using something like tracers.

Tracers will definitely set things on fire. People buying ammo at gun shows and not knowing what they bought is the problem.

A few years ago I stopped in an indoor range that allows rifle shooting. They had a new sign up staying they were inspecting all rifle ammo brought to the range. I asked them why they had this new policy. They told me some knuckle head bought tracers at a gun show and caught their whole backstop on fire. The backstop is made out of shredded tires so you can imagine the mess that made.

alsaqr
June 22, 2012, 03:15 PM
Bullets will cause grass and brush fires especially bullets with steel cores. They ricochet off rocks and cause sparks that ignite fires. i've seen it happen several times.

oneounceload
June 22, 2012, 03:25 PM
Bullets will cause grass and brush fires especially bullets with steel cores. They ricochet off rocks and cause sparks that ignite fires. i've seen it happen several times.

Yep - saw it happen in Carson City at their range - we were able to put it out. Folks were shooting steel, AP, and incendiary stuff they bought at a Reno gun show, so....
These rumors and stories about shooters using common ammunition being responsible for starting fires need to be quashed immediately.

Aren't rumors or BS stories.

Typically, however, it is lightning or an unattended campfire or deliberate arson

why.kyle
June 22, 2012, 03:30 PM
Bullets will cause grass and brush fires especially bullets with steel cores. They ricochet off rocks and cause sparks that ignite fires. i've seen it happen several times.
I understand it can happen.. and if you have seen it personally all the more evidence..
It just seems like the probability is so low.. I doubt every bullet sparks, and not every spark stays lit till it hits something combustible..
It just boggles my mind...

Thanks for those that replied with good info.. you are a credit to this hobby.

Texan Scott
June 22, 2012, 03:38 PM
Proving that it's POSSIBLE these fires could be started by gunfire does not prove that they WERE, or even that gunfire is a more PROBABLE cause than smokers or automobiles (of which there are undoubtedly more). A pair of Boy Scouts can prove that these fires COULD be started by rubbing sticks together... that doesn't make it the most likely cause. These fires may have occurred near areas people shoot, but they also may have happened where people drive, camp, or smoke.
Possibility is not probability. Coincidence and correlation do not show causality. Unless there's some EVIDENCE that the fires were started by gunfire, it sounds like someone has decided that they WANT people to think this and are pushing an agenda.

B!ngo
June 22, 2012, 03:39 PM
No doubt it CAN happen but I'd like to understand how the press knows (in this case) that it DID happen. I'm actually a bit of a lefty, but regardless, uncorroborated new reporting on either side of the line always makes me suspicious. So, how do they know this? Who actually acknowledged they are at fault?

http://www.startribune.com/nation/160033145.html - non-corroborated
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57458581/target-shooting-blamed-for-19-wildfires-as-dry-ground-makes-ignition-more-likely/ - non-corroborated

I can't find any detail. So, if this is true then it was at best a thoughtless and shameless act. But before the term is hung out there, where is the proof? I have to believe that there is some, but after some quick Google-ing, I can't yet find it.
B

Texan Scott
June 22, 2012, 03:57 PM
bingo, B!ngo.

Mk VII
June 22, 2012, 04:27 PM
I have seen fire starting (on a military range) in the brush out a couple of hundred yards out and there sure wasn't anyone else out there but a bunch of soldiers pistol-shooting.

X-Rap
June 22, 2012, 04:57 PM
The steel core stuff will definitely spark and it doesn't take hitting steel to do it, much of the high fire danger lands in the west are covered with rock and the bullets will certainly spark off them. The same can be said for lawn bower blades and other steel implements that are probably used much more than steel core bullets so I am in agreement that the media and probably the fire agencies are looking for a scapegoat and shooters are better than the highway department mowing road ditches.
I would think that muzzle loaders would also be a culprit.

Texan Scott
June 22, 2012, 05:05 PM
I blame Ford Motor Company. It's a well-documented fact that some of their sedan models catch fire if they're rear-ended, to include police model crown vics with reinforced bumpers. The fact that we know they CAN catch fire, no matter how rarely or unlikely, is apparently all the proof we need to allege that they are undoubtedly the culprits.

RustHunter87
June 22, 2012, 05:40 PM
muzzle flash, shooting prone in dry grass

why.kyle
June 22, 2012, 07:45 PM
Just as an update: The current fire burning in Saratoga springs UT is confirmed to be shooter started, the actual shooters are the ones who called in the fire. Im impressed by them and their responsibility. there currently is no charges, but there could be a civil suit.. I feel bad for them.. but good on them for taking it honestly

Texan Scott
June 22, 2012, 07:50 PM
See, THIS is the kind of factual reporting that should have gone out in the first place. So common for the media to be ignorant of firearms in general, and sloppy.
Good on th shooters for taking responsibility, but it's gonna hurt.

oneounceload
June 22, 2012, 08:22 PM
So I guess your snarky comments earlier have now been debunked, eh Texan?

Salmoneye
June 22, 2012, 09:36 PM
Seriously?

Non incendiary rounds are being blamed for what again?

:rolleyes:

Girodin
June 23, 2012, 12:25 AM
These rumors and stories about shooters using common ammunition being responsible for starting fires need to be quashed immediately.

A demonstration needs to be put on to show just how difficult if not impossible it would be to light a fire with any normal bullet,

Unless there's some EVIDENCE that the fires were started by gunfire, it sounds like someone has decided that they WANT people to think this and are pushing an agenda.

I have shot in that specific area before and rounds hitting the rocks there will cause sparks. I've seen it first hand. There is a lot of dry grass too.

The fire is right in an area that lots of people use for shooting and the last news report I heard was that it was the shooters themselves that called it in and claimed to have started it.

I'm all for not jumping to conclusions or spreading BS but lets use that standard both ways.

Girodin
June 23, 2012, 12:27 AM
BTW there was another shooter started fire out there very recently.

firesky101
June 23, 2012, 12:38 AM
Did they happen to see someone with a mosin carbine leaving the area?

HoosierQ
June 23, 2012, 08:48 AM
There seems to be a theme here that somehow fires which may or may not have been caused by gunfire are some kind of anti-gun theme.

Let's face it folks, it can and does happen. How many times have we corrected each other that gun powder burns, it does not explode? How many times have we revelled at the incredible fireball produced by a carbine length Mosin Nagant?

So I will stipulate that the antis will cite shooting as the cause of this or that wildfire and attempt to make their brand of hay with it.

However, we need to understand that with this drought gripping a pretty good part of the US right now, we have to be careful. It hasn't rained a drop here in Indiana since probably March...at least that I can remember. There isn't even any dew on the grass in the morning. Those who bushcraft and make fire with flint steel and tinder are probably having a real good year...everything is tinder.

So be careful out there and let's not give anybody any cause to criticize us. Shoot you .22lr instead if your carbine length Mosin Nagant. Maybe give the old smokepole a couple weeks off...etc.

Steve H
June 23, 2012, 09:09 AM
Over the years I have always been skeptical about shooting causing fires. I am in charge of 4 fire departments and have been involved in fire fighting in the western U.S. since 1970. This year I have been on a few of the Utah fires that were started by accident by shooting in areas that are prone to wildfires. I spoke to the shooters and saw their ammo, I learned something. Shooting can cause fires a lot more easily than I ever thought.

Be safe and careful everybody when you are out in the brush areas and please don't help the anti's give shooters a bad name.

checkmyswag
June 24, 2012, 10:47 AM
Homeless people get blamed for the wildfires by me....often appropriately so.

Our M249 ranges used to catch on fire so I know its possible but I am skeptical about recrdatuonL shooters doing the same.

Then again, johnny cash started a wildfire with his RV. Don't think it was a ring of fire though.

X-Rap
June 24, 2012, 10:52 AM
I think the new exploding targets are partly to blame as well as steel core and incendiary bullets.
Those things create quite a flash and I would suspect there will be some heavy regulations coming pretty soon.
Better those than bullets IMO.

B!ngo
June 24, 2012, 06:53 PM
I have shot in that specific area before and rounds hitting the rocks there will cause sparks. I've seen it first hand. There is a lot of dry grass too.

The fire is right in an area that lots of people use for shooting and the last news report I heard was that it was the shooters themselves that called it in and claimed to have started it.

I'm all for not jumping to conclusions or spreading BS but lets use that standard both ways.
Agreed. As I stated, I hadn't found it via search. But as noted, it WOULD be useful if it had been reported that the shooters had, quite responsibly, called in the fire.

Iggy
June 24, 2012, 07:02 PM
I heard Bush was seen leaving the area....:rolleyes::evil:

powell&hyde
June 24, 2012, 09:12 PM
The owner of Huntingnut.com lives 10 miles of that fire which was started by 2 idiots with no common sense using tracer rounds. They did report it to authority but it got out of control before anything could be done.

Not to give a leg up for the anti's, but dang it, have to use common sense out there. If you read the news, there has been 20 fires started by target shooters in Utah alone this year!!

Dr.Rob
June 25, 2012, 06:16 PM
Not to be a downer but until our fire danger improves I don't plan on doing ANY shooting outside of a range. Colorado is having a heck of a time with fires right now.

JohnM
June 25, 2012, 06:24 PM
Almost the entire state of Wyoming is under a Red Flag warning too and nothing but hot dry wind!
Not a time to be doing anything having to do with hot stuff.

psyopspec
June 25, 2012, 07:23 PM
I spoke to the shooters and saw their ammo, I learned something.

Tracers, incendiary, steel core, or something else? Are there any other details you can pass along that could help other shooters prevent this from happening? Also, thanks for your service.

finnwolf64
June 25, 2012, 07:27 PM
I'm 48 & have been around guns & farms most of those years. I was always sceptical regarding firearms causing bushfires, however about 2 years ago I was out with a mate shooting foxes with a .223 on a hot summers afternoon. A fox was shot at around 100 yards & we noticed a small amount of smoke in the dry grass directly behind the fox. We quickly extinguished the fire & both of us have now changed our minds. Fires can be caused by firearms, although it is rare.

chasclifton
June 25, 2012, 08:59 PM
The Springer Fire (http://inciweb.org/incident/2916/)in central Colorado (1,145 acres) is being investigated as being caused by shooters. Some people said they heard booms in the area, possible from reactive targets (tannerite (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tannerite)).

My gun club here in Colorado has a flat year-around ban on tracers at its outdoor range.

Yes, this will give the public-lands agencies more reasons to crack down on target shooting.

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