BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - Fire officials have seen an unfortunate trend over the past couple of weeks.
The Bureau of Land Management has investigated about 20 human-caused fires so far this season, including four that have been ignited by exploding targets.
A fire near Kuna on Friday burned south of Kuna was started by exploding targets. And with Monday's Red Flag Warning, officials are urging target shooters to avoid using the explosive variety.
"Many people don't realize that exploding targets can easily start wildfires, which can threaten lives, property and our natural resources," said Steve Ellis, Idaho BLM state director.
People use exploding targets for rifle shooting practice. The targets explode when hit by a high powered rifle bullet, scattering incendiary materials for several feet. Once these materials hit dry grass, wildfires can easily ignite and quickly move through dry vegetation.
While legal in many locations, it is illegal to use exploding targets, incendiary or tracer ammunition and fireworks on public lands from May 10 to Oct. 10 every year, per the Idaho Fire Prevention Order. If convicted, violators could serve up to one year in jail and/or up to a $100,000 fine, and violators who start wildfires can also be liable for the costs of damage and suppression.
BLM issues this Order annually to join the U.S. Forest Service and Idaho Department of Lands who already have permanent statutes in place that prohibit exploding targets, incendiary or tracer ammunition, and fireworks.
"If we all take a few precautions, we can not only avoid risking lives but also save taxpayer dollars, as well as natural resources, including wildlife habitat," Ellis said..