Federal authorities have signed a closure order prohibiting un-permitted explosives on U.S. Forest Service land in the Rocky Mountain Region, specifically exploding targets.
The region cover's forest and grasslands in Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota where seven wildfires have been sparked by exploding targets since 2012.
Regional Forester Dan
Jiron said, "Hunting and target shooting are welcome recreational experiences
on national forest system lands. We just want visitors to have safe and
According to Monday's closure order, violators could face a fine of up to $5,000
and be sent prison for up to six months if caught using an exploding target.
Exploding targets can be purchased legally, but will no longer be allowed to be used in the region's U.S. forests and grasslands.
The targets are used for shooting practice and explode when hit by a bullet. The explosion often results in a fireball that can ignite surrounding vegetation.
"The top priority is for people to
be safe. The public should know that exploding targets pose serious
dangers, not just in their actual explosion, but in the wildfires they can
start," said U.S. Attorney John Walsh, who signed the closure order.
Officials said approximately $33.6 million was spent to fight 16 wildfires sparked by exploding targets since 2012.