Multiple fires prompt target shooting ban
1. Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire (using wood, charcoal or any other material), campfire, or stove fire except a portable stove using gas, jellied petroleum, or pressurized liquid fuel outside of a developed fee campground or picnic area (except by permit).
2. Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or at a developed campground or picnic area.
3. Operating vehicles or other motorized equipment off of existing paved, gravel, or dirt roads.
4. Welding or operating an acetylene torch with open flames, except by permit.
5. Using, or causing to be used, any explosive, except by permit.
6. Possession or use of fireworks or any other incendiary device.
7. Use of tracer rounds (always prohibited), steel-core ammunition, or exploding targets, including binary explosive targets while recreational shooting.
In addition, the state prohibits operating vehicles or equipment traveling on or using wildland areas without at least an axe, shovel and one gallon of water. All agencies recommend that individuals carry cell phones while in the wildlands or national forests to report wildfires.
Nine fires that burned more than 500 acres in Alpine, Washoe and Churchill counties are suspected of being caused by target shooting, prompting the Carson Ranger District to issue a shooting restriction through Sept. 30.
“This temporary shooting restriction will prohibit people who are not hunting from discharging firearms on the Carson Ranger District,” said District Ranger Irene Davidson. “The main purpose of this order is to enhance public safety and protect natural resources while the District’s fire conditions are at a dangerous level as evidenced by the recent rash of shooting-related fires.”
Target shooting has become the focus as the cause of the fires in May and June. The 67-acre Payne Fire was reported near Woodfords at 2:03 p.m. June 6.
Two of the fires occurred on private lands; four on Nevada Bureau of Land Management lands; and three on Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest lands. The amount of shooting-related fires are above the average number for this time of year.
U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement will be bringing in extra officers to patrol and enforce the temporary shooting restrictions on the Carson Ranger District,” said Forest Service Law Enforcement & Investigations Patrol Capt. Don Harris.
Forest officials suggest gun enthusiasts use private or county designated shooting ranges while the restriction is in effect.
The Bureau of Land Management followed the Forest Service’s lead, issuing a statewide fire prevention order aimed at reducing the risk of wildfires by prohibiting the use of fireworks and certain types of ammunition and targets for shooting.
The order, which went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday, specifically prohibits discharge, use or allowing use of incendiary, tracer or steel core ammunition or exploding targets, including binary explosive targets while recreational shooting.
“This order is being put into place as a precaution to help ensure the safety of our visitors and to protect your public lands,” said Marci Todd, acting BLM Nevada State director. “We want people to come out and enjoy themselves but be mindful of the danger of wildfire, especially during the hot, dry summer months.”
The BLM is also prohibiting the discharge or use of fireworks or pyrotechnic devices.
Fire restrictions also went into effect on state and federal lands on Friday.
Agencies involved include the Bureau of Land Management, Carson City District Office; the Nevada Division of Forestry, Western Region; the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Western Nevada Agency; and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge Complex.
The Carson Ranger District has also implemented a temporary shooting ban that will last until Sept. 30, or conditions change.
“Vegetation in Western Nevada and Eastern California is significantly more then we have seen in previous years (including 2016) because of the wet winter and spring. Warmer than average temperatures have increased the rate of vegetation dry-out,” BLM spokeswoman Lisa Ross said.
Fire restrictions take effect just after midnight on Friday.
“A large crop of grass and brush is evident at lower elevations and trees and other forest vegetation at higher elevations is quickly drying out,” Ross said. “People are encouraged to safely enjoy the public lands, bearing in mind that human-caused fires threaten human life, private property, and public land resources every summer.”
Fires can be reported by calling 911 or the Sierra Front Interagency Fire Dispatch Center in Minden at 775-883-5995.
To report illegal shooting on the Carson Ranger District while the temporary shooting restriction is in place, please contact either the Nevada Division of Wildlife 24-hour Dispatch Center at 775-688-1331 or 775-688-1332 (U.S. Forest Law Enforcement) or the Ranger District Office at 775-882-2766 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.