Shooters Can Help Prevent Fires During Hot Dry Months

Photo Courtesy US ArmySummer doesn’t officially start until June 21 this year but in our area we’ve already had plenty of summer-like weather.  We’re still getting some of the spring rain but the temps are climbing and the sun is… well, hot.  I’ve watched numerous fires burn hundreds or thousands acres after a round touched off a blaze.  The picture at right shows one such fire at Fort Knox, which burned over 12,000 acres over the course of a week and required thousands of firefighter man-hours, all sparked by a tracer round.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has recently launched an awareness campaign to help remind the shooting community that they can do their part to prevent wildfires.  NSSF offers several tips:

  • Make it a point to know the regulations and rules related to shooting in areas experiencing dry and hot conditions, whether on public or private land or at shooting ranges. Many national forests, for example, do not allow recreational shooting when fire restrictions are in effect.
  • Consider the type of ammunition and targets you are using. Minimize the risk of fires by not using steeljacketed ammunition, ammunition with steel-core components, tracer rounds or exploding targets in fireprone areas.
    Remember that equipment, such as cars and ATVs, can have extremely hot exhaust systems that could ignite dry vegetation, so park only in designated areas.
  • Extinguish and dispose of smoking materials safely.
  • Follow guidelines to extinguish campfires.
  • Warn others of potential dangers and behaviors for starting wildfires.
  • Report any wildfire you see to authorities.
  • Share this message with other target shooters, hunters and outdoor enthusiasts.

NSSF Fire Prevention PosterIn addition to these recommendations, NSSF has also created a poster to increase awareness.  Available for download as a printable PDF in both 8.5×11 and 11×17 sizes, the poster is great for display at shooting ranges, gun stores, sporting goods stores and more.

As NSSF says, “[t]he target shooting and hunting community prides itself on being safe and responsible with firearms in all situations–from using them outdoors to storing them safely at home.”   Let’s make sure that this responsibility extends to preventing loss of property or lives due to unintentional fires by following the above suggestions and exercising common sense while shooting in fire prone conditions.

For more information, see the NSSF Fire Prevention page.

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