Avoid starting a wildfire when target shooting

Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 10:01 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - It’s easier to start a wildfire while target shooting than some people realize.

“It only takes one spark.”

Adam Mayberry, Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District

Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District (TMFPD) personnel are gearing up for what could be one of the hottest and driest summers, a recipe for a potentially unrelentless fire season.

“All of us can play a role in reducing that wildfire threat by ensuring that we’re not engaging in activities outside that spark fires,” Adam Mayberry with TMPFD said.

Target shooting is a leading cause of wildfires in Washoe County. In 2019, the Jasper Fire between Spanish Springs and Sun Valley burned at least 1,200 acres, and the Rowdy Fire in Sun Valley in 2020 charred 10 acres.

Mayberry added, “We strongly recommend our residents to not engage in any target shooting practices during hot, windy conditions.”

If you choose to forego a shooting range facility, Mayberry says your targets should be paper, plastic, or clay. Aiming at metal, rocks, or explosives is asking for disaster.

“Make sure your targets are on dirt or gravel and that there’s no combustible materials, no dry, dead vegetation around those targets.”

Not only is location critical, but the type of ammunition also matters.

Mayberry added, “Steel core ammo, solid copper ammo really has the greatest potential to spark a fire. Lead ammo is a better bet.”

Having a fire extinguisher and water to put out any flames you may cause could help save northern Nevada from going up in smoke.

“One less spark will essentially be one less wildfire.”

Adam Mayberry, Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District

Mayberry also says those who are responsible for starting a fire could be held liable, fined, or even arrested. Call 911 if a fire is starting while you are shooting.

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