Shooting in desert is risky at best

SUN VALLEY, NV (KOLO) We are on BLM land just off of Chimney Drive near Sun Valley.

In this place you can see target shooting is popular.

There are remnants of the activity like shells from shot guns and bullet casings left on scene.

At some point someone lit a campfire here.

In the distance you can see the scarred mountains where this weekend's Jasper Fire made its mark.

More than 1,100 acres, it was caused authorities say, by target shooters.

“We know that target shooting does trigger fires because target shooting creates sparks,” says Adam Mayberry, Public Information Officer with Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District. “Particularly with certain rounds of ammunition. Steel pointed ammunition, also copper ammunition, explosive targets--all it takes is one spark,” he says.

Investigators say bullet fragments can burn as hot as 800 degrees.

Captured pictures of dry cheat grass show when ignited by just one spark it spreads very quickly.

Taking water and a shovel is highly recommended when you go out in the desert and target shoot.

But considering that fire can start 200 yards from you, you could be overwhelmed by the time you make it to the ignition site.

It's recommended you shoot in an area free of vegetation at the site of the target and beyond.

Also, avoid shooting into rocky areas.

There's more vegetation than you might expect now because of our wet winter. But with the high temperatures and wind, the brush has dried out quickly.

With a human caused spark the fire can threaten people, property, and public lands even quicker.

Copyright KOLO-TV 2019