Truckee Meadows Fire & Rescue outlines ways to prevent fires from target shooting

SPARKS, Nev. (KOLO) - Wildfire season is just around the corner.

Fire crews around Northern Nevada are staying prepared to battle any unexpected fires they come across.

Target shooting is just one of the many ways a brush fire can start.

"Last year (target shooting) caused one of our largest wildfires," said Truckee Meadows Fire & Rescue Communications Director Adam Mayberry. "The Jasper fire burned over 1,500 acres."

Starting a wildfire while target shooting is easier than you might think.

"Bullet fragments can become very, very hot and can easily start a fire," Mayberry said. "Shooting at metal objects or rocks can spark and easily catch fire."

The best place to shoot is in a controlled environment.

"Approved shooting ranges, indoor or outdoor, are really your safest bet," according to Mayberry. "If you do go out to wild land there are areas - mainly on federal lands - where target shooting is allowed. You should check with the Bureau of Land Management and the forest service (to find a safe shooting place)."

If you plan to shoot outside of a range Mayberry has some recommendations.

Bring water or a fire extinguisher to put out any fires you might start, shoot when the weather is calm, use approved targets, and make sure you fire into a dirt hillside that isn't surrounded by vegetation.

"Find an area where you have good cell service if you're target shooting," Mayberry added. "In the event that you do start a fire you can call that in through 9-1-1. If you have GPS coordinates report those as well."

There are bound to be some unexpected fires this summer. Pleading the ignorance card to law enforcement won't get you off the hook.

"Individuals that are responsible for starting fires can be held liable and fined," Mayberry said. "If there's negligence involved there could be jail time involved as well."

Target shooting is only allowed in certain areas outside of city limits.

The farther out someone target shoots the longer it will take crews to get out to a fire to put it out.

Copyright KOLO-TV 2020