It was first reported that bullets caused four fires that have burned hundreds of acres of public rangeland in Idaho this year.
Four of the 19 human-caused fires in Southwest Idaho this year instead were caused by the targets, which have become popular among target shooters. Three of those blazes were in the Treasure Valley this week: Two wildfires near Kuna on Sunday burned about 800 acres, and a fire on Monday burned 370 acres south of Marsing.
In two of the four fires, shooters admitted that their exploding targets were the cause, said Jessica Gardetto, a Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman. Evidence at the other two scenes led law enforcement to blame the targets.
All four incidents are under investigation.
When hit by high-velocity bullets, the chemical incendiary targets explode, sending off heat and burning material that can ignite surrounding grass.
Many people dont realize that exploding targets can easily start wildfires, which can threaten lives, property and natural resources said BLM Idaho Director Steve Ellis.
They also dont realize they can be held liable for the damages and the cost of firefighting, Gardetto said. They could be fined or billed.
Exploding targets are outlawed on public lands during fire season by the annual fire prevention order issued by the BLM. Its the same order that prohibits the use of fireworks and tracer ammunition.
If we all take a few precautions, we can not only avoid risking lives, but also save taxpayer dollars, Ellis said.
Rocky Barker: 377-6484