BAD: "Guns blamed for sparking some wildfires in West"

This is a discussion on BAD: "Guns blamed for sparking some wildfires in West" within the In the News: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly forums, part of the The Back Porch category; - Personally, I have a hard time believing this. How could they possibly tie the fires back to shooting??? . . . . (AP) SPOKANE, ...

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Thread: BAD: "Guns blamed for sparking some wildfires in West"

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    VIP Member Array BugDude's Avatar
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    BAD: "Guns blamed for sparking some wildfires in West"

    - Personally, I have a hard time believing this. How could they possibly tie the fires back to shooting???.
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    (AP) SPOKANE, Washington - In the tinder-dry U.S. West, where campfires, fireworks and even lit cigarettes are banned across public lands, another fire-starting culprit remains free of most restrictions: guns.


    This year, officials believe target shooting or other firearms use have sparked at least 21 wildfires in Utah and nearly a dozen in Idaho. Shooting is also believed to have caused fires in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico.


    Officials have been asking the public to scale back shooting as legions of firefighters contend with one of the busiest and most destructive wildfire seasons to ever hit the West.


    But many in the region avid proponents of the Second Amendment right to bear arms, so most state lawmakers are hesitant to enact any formal restrictions.


    "We're not trying to pull away anyone's right to bear arms. I want to emphasize that," said Louinda Downs, a county commissioner in fire-prone Davis County, Utah. "We're just saying, target practice in winter. Target practice on the gun range. When your pleasure hobby is infringing or threatening someone else's right to have property or life, shouldn't we be able to somehow have some authority so we can restrict that?"


    The state's Republican Gov. Gary Herbert took the unusual step of authorizing the top state forest official to impose gun restrictions on public lands after a gunfire-sparked fire. Herbert said his decision doesn't limit gun rights, but is a common-sense response to dry conditions.


    Guns rights advocates are skeptical that firearms use can cause so many wildfires.


    Clark Aposhian, chairman of the Utah Sports Shooting Council, said that perhaps 5 percent of the wildfires in the state have been caused by target shooters this year.


    "I don't know how much of a problem it really is," he said.


    Officials believe steel-jacketed bullets are the most likely culprits. One shot that hits a rock and throws off sparks can ignite surrounding vegetation and quickly spread. Popular exploding targets are also blamed for causing wildfires.


    For weeks, state officials have said they were powerless to ban gun use because of Second Amendment rights, but legislative leaders say they found an obscure state law that empowers the state forester to act in an emergency.


    Among the recent fires, target shooters on June 21 ignited a blaze south of Salt Lake City that forced the evacuation of about 2,300 before it was contained.


    Aposhian said his group will conduct tests to determine if the steel-jacketed bullet theory is true. If there are limits, "we want to make sure it is not knee-jerk legislation to ban guns or ammunition," he said. "If it turns out the problem is with a few types of rounds, we will not be an apologist for them."


    There is no need for such tests, Utah state fire marshal Brent Halladay said. With steel bullets, "you might as well just go up there and strike a match," he said.


    Statistics on wildfires caused by firearms are incomplete because the federal government does not list "shooting" as a cause on its fire reports. But some officials write in "target" or "shoot" as a cause, said Jennifer Jones of the National Interagency Fire Center in Idaho.


    On land managed by the U.S. Forest Service only, the center found 17 such wildfires in 2010, 28 last year and 13 so far this year.


    This year, the federal Bureau of Land Management said 11 of 31 wildfires it has battled in Idaho have been sparked by shooting activities.


    Officials at Arizona's Tonto National Forest had seven wildfires caused by firearms in 2010, 10 in 2011 and at least five so far this year. The potential for fire is so great that shooting for several years has been prohibited on BLM property in the Phoenix area.


    In one case in the state, prosecutors said five friends at a campout and bachelor party set off a fire on May 12 when one loaded an incendiary shell, which burns rapidly and causes fires, into a shotgun and pulled the trigger.


    Meanwhile, firefighters are wary of more wildfires with the arrival of the Independence Day holiday on July 4.


    "Many people use these times to show patriotism as well as support for the Second Amendment," Aposhian said.
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    I also found this hard to believe, until I heard the real story on the news, at least for one of the fires.
    The idiot was using a shotgun with shells that explode...big flames (incendiary shell) instead of just a lead bullet.
    It would have been like a flare...not too bright of a thing to do. The idiot is in custody and facing very serious charges.
    The rest of the blame on regular bullets is just hogwash.
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    Senior Member Array NH_Esau's Avatar
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    I'm throwing the BS flag.

    OK, the exploding target thing... maybe. I've never used one.

    Steel jacketed bullets causing fires? Anyone EVER have that happen? Has anyone ever tried making a fire with steel and flint? Doable for sure, but it sure doesn't just "happen" - got to get the tinder prepared, get the sparks in the center, then get air on them quick.

    There's a gun-grabber behind this.

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    Ex Member Array Yankeejib's Avatar
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    I believe at least one of the fires was caused by a bleeding heart liberal watching FOX news and having their head explode.
    msgt/ret, GeorgiaDawg and aznav like this.

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    Senior Member Array Chad Rogers's Avatar
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    After seeing a target essentially smolder then burst into flame from repeated hits by an AK, I have no doubt that bullets downrange can start a fire.
    "People who take an Internet handle of a great warrior, are usually the first to go fetal when crunch time comes." - Me

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    VIP Member Array Sig 210's Avatar
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    After seeing a target essentially smolder then burst into flame from repeated hits by an AK, I have no doubt that bullets downrange can start a fire.
    Bingo!

    i have started grass fires myself with softpoint and FMJ ammo. Anyone who believes a bullet will not start a fire should do some shooting into dry grass, especially the cheat grass that covers much of the western US. When the bullet hits the ground and ricochets its very hot; when that bullet comes to rest in dry grass theres a good chance a fire will start.
    BaconHunter likes this.

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    Ex Member Array ANGLICO's Avatar
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    Car blamed for road kill.

    Beveradge container blamed for stain on carpet.

    Pen blamed for writing bad check.

    Breathing blamed for causing AWG.

    Sounds like some lazy fire investigators on some of these. Can't all of these fires been started by the use of firearms. The flaming shotgun, I get that one (again, made the investigator's job easy).

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    Senior Member Array Mattmann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yankeejib View Post
    I believe at least one of the fires was caused by a bleeding heart liberal watching FOX news and having their head explode.
    Ahhhhahahahahaha! The yank always has the best comments. If its as dry there as here, and he was using a dragons breath shot, I could easily see this happening. Almost as nervous as I am today about fireworks.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR

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    Member Array Tayopo's Avatar
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    While true, I think that it will be taken out of context and used as an excuse to ban possession of firearms in broad areas to 'start' with. Vehicles have also started fires with their exhaust systems, however----..

    In the Pacific in 42, I did see many fires started by machine gun fire and hot shell / Bomb casing. Some times they were red hot, almost like tracers..

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    I believe it. Here's an example I found. This was more than just shooting, but you can see the kinds of things people do. I've seen videos of hot sparks coming off of steel targets, I suspect could do the same thing. A steel jacketed bullet on a rock might do just as well.

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    Ex Member Array Bullet1234's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BugDude View Post
    - Personally, I have a hard time believing this. How could they possibly tie the fires back to shooting???.
    .
    CAUSE they WANT TO.

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    Most of ours are caused by lightening and arsonists.

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    Member Array Gunsmoke16's Avatar
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    It's very possible-someone shooting into brush can cause ricochets, especially if there are flint-rock around that can spark. Know your backstop and what's beyond it... In weather as dry as we have had recently that contributes to the fires like in CO,
    it's prudent to use extreme caution. Most communities in my area have banned fireworks-especially sparklers-as they can set
    the fields/woods on fire and it can't be put out without calling all wild-land trucks, and local fire departments in as a team.
    Then of course there are some idiots that will shoot "tracer" rounds that are essentially a hunk of hot burning steel into the
    grass and woods...as Smoky the Bear says: "Only YOU can prevent forest fires"!

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    Member Array Crashoften's Avatar
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    There have been at least two fires in the last two years that were started by target shooters. I don't blame the guns but I do blame the shooters. Being aware of what is behind your target is very important and I have even seen people standing targets on top of large rocks?
    Guns are not the problem there stupid is the problem. If they could just figure out how to ban stupid I might support it.

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    Senior Member Array Spidey2011's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sig 210 View Post
    Bingo!

    i have started grass fires myself with softpoint and FMJ ammo. Anyone who believes a bullet will not start a fire should do some shooting into dry grass, especially the cheat grass that covers much of the western US. When the bullet hits the ground and ricochets its very hot; when that bullet comes to rest in dry grass theres a good chance a fire will start.
    I've done quite a bit of shooting in such conditions, including the old 7.62 steel bullets. Never once have I had one start a fire. I do believe the incendiary rounds could do it. No question there.

    I'd also like to know how they can track these fires back to a single spark from a steel bullet. More than likely some idiot cam up with the idea and everyone started jumping on the bandwagon blaming every fire on steel bullets. Those fires could just as easily have been caused by a discarded cigarette butt, a piece of glass, or a catalytic converter.

    We have one of the biggest fires in the nation up here at the moment. Anyone know what caused it? Lightning. The same thing that caused 90% of the fires in MT.

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