Seems that a good portion of Eastern Colorado Forests are now closed to shooting


July 1, 2012, 09:59 PM
Sorry if someone else already posted this - I haven't seen mention of it.

But it appears that the NFS has shut down shooting in much of Colorado's public lands east of the divide:

Order No. 10-00-2012-03


Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests
and Pawnee National Grassland

Due to extreme fire conditions, pursuant to 16 U.S.C. § 551 and 36 CFR § 261.50(a), the following act is prohibited on lands administered by the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland. This prohibition applies to the areas depicted on the attached map, hereby incorporated into this Order as Exhibit A.

1.Discharging a firearm. 261.58(m)
Pursuant to 36 CFR 261.50(e), the following persons are exempt from this order:
1. Persons with a US Forest Service permit specifically authorizing the prohibited act or omission.
2. Any Federal, State, or local officer in the performance of an official duty.
3. Any person possessing a valid Colorado hunting license lawfully involved in hunting and harvesting game.
4. Persons discharging an air rifle or gas gun.
This order is in effect starting at 12:01 a.m. on June 25, 2012 and will remain in effect until rescinded.
Done at Fort Collins, Colorado this 24th day of June, 2012.

/s/ Glenn P. Casamassa
Forest Supervisor
Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests
Pawnee National Grassland

Violation of these regulations is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor, by a fine of not more than $5000 for an individual or $10,000 for an organization, or imprisonment for not more than six (6) months, or both. (16 USC § 551 and 18 USC §§ 3559 and 3571).

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July 1, 2012, 10:34 PM
Considering the fires in CO I don't think anyone wants to take any chances of another blaze starting.

We're so bad here in E. Tn. that a lawnmower blade hitting a rock sparked a fire that burned several acres where the 4th of July fireworks were normally held. Grass is sage colored and crunch instead of the normal bright green and lush. I'd be afraid of a spark setting anything off around our place so we won't be shooting until the first rain arrives.

July 1, 2012, 10:45 PM
The fire that started near Lake George is rumored, I know, to have been started by someone shooting a propane tank or bottle. We are in a record drought with the forests having never before seen low levels of moisture content. So I can understand why the FS would make this new rule, at least for the time being. The whole state is literally a tinder box.

July 2, 2012, 11:51 AM
A few months ago a couple of idiots were shooting tracers at Pawnee National Grasslands. Guess what the result was. Go ahead, guess. Fortunately there were several other groups of shooters there who put it out.

I don't care a whole lot for rumors, but sometimes one pops up that, unfounded or not, the antis will use as ammunition. One such rumor says that suspected use of exploding targets started one of the fires here in Colorado. I know exploding targets are verboten at Pawnee, and since the Forest Service oversees activities there, I suspect Tannerite,, are also forbidden in the National Forests. Sometimes I think 2A should be amended to say only those citizens with an I.Q. of Average or above can bear arms.

July 2, 2012, 12:06 PM
We probably have more of a problem with ignorance from lack of information and mentoring than true stupidity. Many a dad/uncle/grandfather isn't involved in many of our first experience shooters who's only experience with firearms and shooting come through an entertainment video feed where sage advice isn't the norm. "Too dry" isn't heard on games/TV/movies.

July 2, 2012, 02:01 PM
I think now is a time for some self restraint and prudent use of our shooting rights. If you have a clear gravel pit or range that has little to no danger of setting fire then go ahead but do so with full knowledge that at least in my area the fuels are as dry as they have ever been and will flash out of control before you get a chance to react with any counter measures. I was told the Pine Ridge fire was the fastest growing fire in CO state history. Went from 1200 acres to around 15,000 overnight.
Those using incendiary, steel core, or those exploding targets and setting fires under these type 2 restrictions should be held accountable and charged with arson and any other applicable as a result of such fire. That may sound harsh and almost anti gun to some but this is serious business and I feel the same for those who are smokers, grillers, or think they need to burn their trash or roast their marshmellows.

July 2, 2012, 02:58 PM
since I don't have anything that shoots the steel jacketed or steel core ammo has anybody seen sparks when shooting in a rocky area with this ammo? while I'm pretty sure it could happen with tracers but maybe I'm a little skeptical of the "steel" ammo sustaining a spark along enought to start a fire unless there was a lot of rounds fired. just curious

July 2, 2012, 05:41 PM
My son is a wildland fire fighter and incident manager. I asked him about steel jacketed ammo. He thought it was possible but more likely tracers or exploding targets. He did say his team has traced several roadside fires to trailer safety chains, undone and sparking on the pavement.

Shadow 7D
July 2, 2012, 05:58 PM
My son is a wildland fire fighter and incident manager. I asked him about steel jacketed ammo. He thought it was possible but more likely tracers or exploding targets. He did say his team has traced several roadside fires to trailer safety chains, undone and sparking on the pavement.
Is that what they are using these days, back when I was a kid in Cali and the contracts were up for renegotiation, it seemed those road side fires popped up a lot more, something about firemen, er, smokers tossing butts....

ON a serious note, a forest fire ain't a joke, and a good burn is a damn scare thing to come face to face with. The military managed their lands with controlled burns every 2-3 years, for the reason that they would burn, it wasn't a question of if, solely when.

July 2, 2012, 10:01 PM
In the Sam Houston National Forest here in east Texas, target shooting is permanently prohibited. They started by making designated target shooting areas, then they closed them and prohibited target shooting altogether. It seems if they can't take our guns, they're just going to make it cost us more to practice with them. I understand the deal in Colorado with the drought, but here, where I am anyway, we're not that dry any more.

July 2, 2012, 10:14 PM
Haven't heard about closing the outdoor ranges here in N.E. Ohio, but right now we are drier than ahhhhh 'Salted Popcorn Flatulence'

More than 6" short of average rainfall in June, and July looks to be the same. Yards are mostly a shade of "dormant grass brown'

July 2, 2012, 10:14 PM
I hear you Silas and that's why I would rather people just quit on their own while there is such a high fire danger. My hope would be that the Gov. would not jump into more regulation if there is no shooting incidents related to fire. I know there are a number of them already blamed on shooters so that ship has kind of sailed already but in Western CO. there are no shooting bans yet that I'm aware of.

July 2, 2012, 10:33 PM
I very much agree with x-rap. Utah has had dozens of fires started by shooters this year. I'm betting most of them were shooting Russian ammo.

A few weeks ago I was in a Sportsman's Warehouse and they were selling ammo marked 'tracer'. I asked the clerk if he was aware that it was illegal. He said; "Would we sell it if it was illegal?" I bit it off and walked away.

Our governor just announced that he would not seek a special legislative session to seek a ban on target shooting. I think that we need to cool it voluntarily. If someone just HAS to shoot, I can refer them to a couple of rock quarries where they won't start anything they can't finish.

July 2, 2012, 10:42 PM
You make a good point on the retailers as well, so far as I know Cabelas and SW are both still selling the tannerite (spelling?) targets and I'm sure it is still being peddled at the gun shows. Penetrator steel core should be on that voluntary list as well.

July 2, 2012, 11:05 PM
I forget what the name of the fire was, but some people i know started a fire on storm mountain earlier this year. This is just south of the high park fire in colorado.They were shooting tracers at tannerite or equivent. I don't belive they were charged, but should have been. I think restraint is mandatory this year.

July 3, 2012, 12:12 AM
I just posted a request on facebook for all shooters to curtail all shooting activities. Keep it indoors and at rock quarries, and no Wolf ammo out in the brush. This one is bad guys, we need to cool it.

July 3, 2012, 09:24 AM
It sounds like we may be transitioning into the Monsoons soon so maybe things will improve before hunting season.
If nothing else I hope this at least raises the awareness of shooters.

July 3, 2012, 09:31 AM
There is a fire ban in these areas every year. If shooting is now in the same category as campfires as far as the CO rangers are concerned, there will no longer be any shooting along the front range during summer.

Adjacent areas in WY, forests that abut, same fire ban but no shooting ban. I fear there is something beyond a fire ban going on.

July 3, 2012, 10:30 AM
Here is a story of another fire started by negligence, 18,000 acres burned by a shotgun shell with a warning attached. I bet this will be a life changer for him.

As for the front range bans, you are probably right. Probably more to it than just public safety.

July 3, 2012, 01:46 PM
The older I get, the lower the IQ of the general public.

Baba Louie
July 3, 2012, 05:39 PM
Pretty soon they'll have to outlaw lightening strikes, eh?

Colorado, Utah and Wyoming are tinder dry with plenty of dead tree fuel just standing there awaiting anything to release the suns energy stored up within.

I don't think it prudent to go out ashootin' in such conditions myself, which is sad. Wise... but sad.

Time to stock up on some more ammo, clean and fondle a few, make a trade or two, maybe break out the archery and/or fishing tackle or just go hiking (while picking up other peoples trash :fire:)

I've never seen the Colorado, Crystal or Roaring Fork rivers running so low this time of year. While fly fishing ought to be great, River rafting, not so good.

You guys stay safe out there. Specially tomorrow. Idiots abound.

Have a safe 4th.

Owen Sparks
July 3, 2012, 05:55 PM
In my part of the country we are under a burn ban because of the extremly dry conditions. The authorities are also urging extreme caution when using fireworks during the 4th of July celibrations. I have not heard anything about shooting though. That might be because we don't have rocks so steel jackets are not a problem here. Tracers are rare enough that probably no one in the legislature has thought about them as being a fire hazard. I worry that someone might drive by and flick a lit cigarette butt out the window and set fire to my wooded property. We need some rain!

July 4, 2012, 11:40 AM

So, for those of you who weren't aware of this fact, Colorado has been having a horrendous wildfire season this year, with some of the deadliest, costliest, and most destructive fires in this state's history. As such, very restrictive fire bans have been in effect for many of our mountain communities, which outlaw activities such as smoking outside unless you're in an area that is cleared of vegetation for three feet in any direction, campfire bans, fireworks bans, restrictions on use of charcoal grills, etc.

Today I saw a news article that says Park County, Colorado, has now banned the use of firearms anywhere in the county. Park County is a rural mountain area, and I've often gone hunting or shooting there myself.

Personally, while I very much respect the fire threat at the moment, I don't see normal gun use as a legitimate cause of wildfires (despite this article's claim that two fires were started by target shooting). In my estimation, which is based on 25+ years of shooting experience, the only way a fire would be started by target shooting is if the shooter was using some type of incendiary/tracer ammunition, or if they were shooting at an incendiary/exploding type of target. I feel like this type of restriction is needlessly targeting those of us in the gun-using community, when I don't really believe that our activities are causing any fires. After all, the range I belong to is on a very dry grassland area, and it probably absorbs better than 100,000 rounds of ammo per week -- no fires yet.

I'd love to hear some thoughts from any of you on this subject. What do you say?



While I know the fire danger is extreme, and I appreciate the concerns that such danger causes, I still don't believe that shooting regular ammo is a legitimate concern for starting wildfires. If you're stupid enough to shoot propane cans or other incendiary targets in the mountains of CO right now, then you're obviously asking for trouble. Same goes for tracers and incendiary ammo. Otherwise, I think this is an overblown concern.

Incidentally, the two largest and most destructive fires of this season (both set records for number of homes destroyed, and one now holds second place in state history for the number of acres burned) were started by lightning.

July 4, 2012, 12:34 PM
Kevin, I tend to agree in general and think that what UT has done with certain types of ammo and targets makes more sense than an outright ban. I do have some concerns about Black Powder as well as the burning of residual powder and gases that while not so apparent in daylight are very pronounced in many guns using smokeless powder.
The later really doesn't seem like a problem unless one is firing prone in grass that would offer a ready source of fuel.
I think there will be and are knee jerk reactions to any crisis, IMO the DOW, County SO's and any other agency involved in firearms or shooting sports should be at the front of this matter speaking factually about what the actual hazards are before blanket bans are enacted.

July 4, 2012, 02:05 PM
The gun club I belong to, private membership, doesn't allow incendiary rounds, nor Tannerite on the property! LEO's have access to our range, have their own range to qualify and shoot on, they have permission to eject anyone found shooting incend. rounds, and if fires are started, to arrest them on the spot.

With CO only getting 2% of normal snowfall in most areas, there dry conditions make it pretty plain as to what should and shouldn't be done, but as has already been said, the IQ of some folks in the population is barely above slugs. Hopefully, the Gov. won't shutdown all ranges!

July 5, 2012, 07:17 PM
Just got back from a week in southern Colorado and good Lord is it ever dry there. Drove through a fire down around Mancos. Not big compared to the Ft. Collins or Colorado Springs fires, but saw a plane and whirlybird fighting it from the air.

Maybe we should simply outlaw stupid people since they seem to to cause most of the problems in society. That would take care of soooo many more problems than just the idiots starting fires.

BTW, our city banned outdoor cooking on the 4th. Don't tell anyone but we grilled anyway. On our concrete driveway. Told the wife if our little grill starts the concrete on fire we got bigger problems than the drought.

July 5, 2012, 11:12 PM
As much as I hate to admit it, I can understand and even support the fireban, and yes, I can think of at least one situation where shooting normal ammo could start a blaze, particularly on the tinderbox that is the Pawnee right now.

Pretty simple, really. Imagine you are shooting prone. Pulling the trigger shoots out a blast of hot gas and flame. Fire starts.

Is it likely? No, probably not. I mean, you could start a fire that way, but chances are you would get it stomped out before thousands of acres eat it. But in a season where our state is burning aggressively, I can understand that they have to take every precaution necessary. And, you know, unfortunately we have to pay for the yahoos that are shooting propane tanks.

Lightning strikes have been the cause of the big ones right now, but Coloradoans might remember that the Hayman fire was started by a forest ranger burning an old love letter (notice the singular "letter") in a fit of rage. I am sure she thought she could stomp that out in time, but 138,000 acres of burned Colorado say otherwise.

July 5, 2012, 11:39 PM
Not to get too far off-topic, I just want to speak on the matter of "probability of ignition" in regards to things like smoking and shooting, since many people argue that something creating such a small and seemingly insignificant spark is highly unlikely to start a fire.

I recently returned from an assignment fighting fires here out west. I can speak from experience that the conditions this year are incredibly extreme throughout the Rockies and Northern Rockies regions, and have my own proof.

In one instance, my crew was faced with a small group of trees, perhaps five pines, that torched out along a bulldozer line. Myself and two other members of the crew were standing withing twenty yards of the torching, just on the other side of the line, watching for embers carried by the wind. Honestly, it didn't look like there was much getting carried over, to me. Within approximately five to ten minutes we were dealing with between six and ten spot fires sparked by embers we couldn't even see cross the line, driven by wind. The spot fires moved so quickly that we were barely able to scratch line around some of them in time, didn't in a couple cases, and resorted to calling in aerial resources to cool things off for us before they really got us cornered.

If you haven't dealt with fire in these conditions before it could be easy to presume that it would be a simple task to "stomp it out" if something was sparked. I'm here to tell you that even with ten firefighters immediately on-site, and heavy tankers overhead, the pucker-factor can spike pretty quick, it's not as easy as it seems when the winds are cranking at 20-40 mph and the relative humidity is in the single digits.

As someone "in the industry" I would ask everyone to be understanding and supportive of temporary restrictions. I also have noted that in many cases the use of firearms while engaged in lawful hunting has not been restricted. I believe this could very well by a result of the few idiots ruining things for the majority, however do not underestimate the potential for even innocent target practice to spark something.

Another way to look at it is this; you're paying for fighting and cleaning up these fires, through your tax dollars (heavy air-tankers start at something like $2K/hour, 20-person handcrews are about $7,000 per day). It's much cheaper to forego shooting for a month or so than to deal with record-setting wildfires for weeks at a time.

July 6, 2012, 01:33 AM
Seems like many parts of the west are now closed to....habitation!

I think next to the fact that a lotta folks are losing their homes, some restrictions to shooting are pretty darned small!

No?!? :confused:

July 6, 2012, 09:36 AM
I have seen news articles regarding "shooters start wildfire" and while certain activities are alleged to have been the culprit the media focuses little on that and more on the shooting in general.
Please show me an article that explains the difference and how to discern between bullets that can create spark/fire and those that won't, show me a writer that will castigate those who are shooting up propane tanks and other flammable materials without throwing us all under the bus, show me a writer that will go to an educated source on small arms and have them explain the hazards of shooting in this dry environment.
The thing that worries me most is when this is all over and the rains come again the bans on smoking, grilling, burning, campfires will all go away but due to the "extreme" hazard that shooters comprise that ban on public land will stay.

Baba Louie
July 6, 2012, 09:53 AM
The thing that worries me most is when this is all over and the rains come again the bans on smoking, grilling, burning, campfires will all go away but due to the "extreme" hazard that shooters comprise that ban on public land will stay.A very very real possibility. I look with disdain at all the shot up crap left over by slob shooters out on BLM land, and I can certainly understand that mindset by those charged wth maintaining said public lands. And, as usual, the law abiding will be mindful and adjust/suffer, while the slobs will continue to act irresponsibly.

Small(ish) fire outside of Cedar City UT this weekend (The Shingles area) caused, they think, by an ATV w/ spark arrestor removed from a quadrunner. Idiots abound. :banghead:

July 7, 2012, 12:12 AM
Baba Louie, I hear ya on the messes people leave; when I was in a flying gig out in Portland, I'd go up to Mt. Hood to shoot...people left EVERYTHING out there, full of bullet holes.


I suspect, though, that those same people have front yards that look about the same...

July 8, 2012, 01:32 PM
Tuesday 7/3/2012 or so Park County closed itself off from target shooting.

In Crested Butte this weekend it was illegal to SMOKE in town due to the fire dangers. Smoking in public was a $500 fine. Unkless you were IN you car, IN your home or IN a driving rainstorm you were warned once, ticketed on repeat.

It was also illegal to smoke in the National Forest. In your car was ok.

Sometimes the laws and rules don't make sense.. aka you could have your windows down but your doors couldn't be open.

As for shooting there was a an imprmptu skeet/trap challenge at the local shooting area near the top of Kebler pass. The forest service was queried and the shooters were given the go ahead.

Take a drive through Colorado Springs Between Academy and Garden of the Gods and take a look towards the mountains. These restrictions are an attempt to get a handle on THAT kind of damage. Colorado relies too much on tourist $$ from visiting sportsmen and locals enjoying the great outdoors (WHO by the way are exempted if lawfully hunting). This restrictions WILL be lifted.

But this is the not the hottest part of summer yet.

There are plenty of public ranges open at present. Use common sense and read up on the specific restrictions in a given area.

July 14, 2012, 02:50 AM
Dr. Rob,

I was actually in Colorado Springs during the Waldo Canyon Fire, and did some aerial surveillance of the burn area for work. Fires can be devastating to a community, to be sure, but I'm confident that these fires aren't being caused (and won't be caused) by shooters who are using conventional ammo on conventional targets.

The fire fear has been huge this year (for good reason), and we've been quite fortunate to get some rain in the past week or so. But, shooting didn't cause these fires. In fact, nature itself caused most of the big fires this season!

July 14, 2012, 03:16 AM
Many of the restrictions don't apply to conventional targets or ammo, but it varies county to county.

I certainly wouldn't think shooting black powder in the grasslands was a good idea, for instance.

July 14, 2012, 04:50 AM
My post was in reference to the Park County restrictions. It is my understanding that their ban outlaws shooting of ANY type of firearm, using ANY type of ammo, ANYWHERE in the county. That's pretty darn restrictive.

July 14, 2012, 08:53 PM
Up here in Montana we're locally under a stage 2 fire warning so shooting is banned in most areas in the local counties. We also had to cancel a pig roast because any fire that can throw a spark is also banned. I can still shoot at the range I belong to but the range closes at noon because it is so dry. Some guy even started a fire last week using a grinder outside his workshop. I can't complain since these are all predetermined Stage 1 means X restrictions, Stage 2 mans X+Y restrictions. I guess there is stage 3. I hope we don't go there.

July 20, 2012, 02:48 PM
the fire warning has been downgraded to stage1, shooting restriction unchanged.

find a range folks, this may not be going away until the snow falls.

July 22, 2012, 03:24 AM
Apparently I have a double posting issue... read below. Sorry!

July 22, 2012, 04:25 AM
Talked to a ranger with Roosevelt and Arapahoe National Forests today... both forests are apparently entirely closed to shooting right now, allegedly due to fire danger (this is in addition to the Park County shooting ban).

There's really no need for this ban, whatsoever, regardless of fire conditions. Moreover, while the fire danger is still elevated at the moment, it is probably now about where it is in the heat of the summer most years. We've had some rain since the big fires started, and the conditions are substantially better than they were a couple of weeks ago. It's not great, but it isn't as bad as it was.

Camp stoves are again allowed on these two forests, but shooting is still banned. The ranger said that the ban is in place because: "three fires have been started this season from people shooting steel core ammo". That's the same story the news told.

July 22, 2012, 03:07 PM
Shooting generates alot of complaints for them (and lets face it, piles of trash from *censored* not cleaning up after themselves).

If someone handed me a convenient excuse to make my job easier I'd run as far as I could with it too.

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