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BLM: Recent Fires Started by Target Shooters

By Bob Conrad

The Bureau of Land Management today said it is looking for a suspect who was witnessed shooting targets, activity that started yesterday’s Duck Hill Fire in Washoe Valley.

The agency also said that the Chimney 2 fire north of Sun Valley was started by target shooting.

“BLM is requesting any information about the person responsible for starting the Duck Hill Fire who fled the scene and did not report the fire to 911,” said Lisa Ross, agency spokesperson. “They were seen leaving the scene in a red side-by-side Utility Terrain Vehicle driving on Goni Road toward Carson City. If you have any information please call 775-885-6117.”

Research has shown that target shooting can cause fires, which prompted Washoe County commissioners to draft an ordinance in July that allowed target shooting bans during wildfire seasons.

“Fires can be ignited by hot fragments of the bullets due to the heat generated when the kinetic energy of the lead, copper, or steel is transformed to thermal energy by plastic deformation and fracturing from the high-strain rates during impact,” according to government researchers in 2013. “Lead has a lower melting point than copper or steel, which contributes to the lower (probability of ignition) of lead core bullets.”

Fire restrictions are still in place around the area.

“Though the weather has turned cooler and the days have shortened, the fire hazard has not improved,” said Ryan Elliot, BLM fire investigator. “Fuels on the rangelands are the driest on record for this time of year. Any ignition source is capable of causing a fire.”



cl dickinson September 24, 2018 - 7:32 pm

You kno… its funny… before all the gun haters moved into Nevada, I dont remember EVER hearing about a fire caused by target shooters oh… unless they were SMOKING or something (you ever notice MOST fires start right beside the road…, I wonder what could cause that? (whoops, there goes another butt out the window)…
Note… I’ve probably fired 10 TO 20 THOUSAND rounds…… not one fire… what am i doing wrong here???

Anthony Jacks September 25, 2018 - 9:43 am

I’ve started a few fires on Camp Pendleton. Actually it happened quite often. Green tip 5.56×45 and a lot of 7.62×39 have steel cores and it will ignite dry grass. If you’re shooting on public lands you should have a fire extinguisher with you.

CL Dickinson September 25, 2018 - 9:55 am

..yes… I will agree there… STEEL core stuff…. but straight lead …its pretty hard to do (I know nothing is impossible). SO… seems it would be cheaper then to actually have a FREE PUBLIC Rifle Range… (yes, we have one… No, I wont pay the 8 or 10 bucks every time I need to go out and shoot a few rounds. I WILL drive all the way to Carson City, where the Public Range is FREE… (and yes, I DO save money, because I buy my fuel while I’m there, and any other firearms related material. I’m not supporting Washoe county tax base if they are not supporting me).

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