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“Some of the wildfires scorching the West this year were sparked by unusual culprits: Gun owners. Or, more specifically, gun shooters.” Huh? Oh, means gun owners who shoot guns. (Where’s a Venn diagram when you need one?) Incendiary rounds, incendiary journalism or true story? “As with the Dump fire in Utah, which flared hard enough on Friday to force the evacuation of 1,500 homes and 9,000 people, nearly two dozen conflagrations, officials say, have started accidentally by careless target shooters whose bullet sparks touch off dried-up pinon and wild grasses.” The media is on board with that, blaming ricochets for the conflagrations. Let’s look a little closer [via . . .

Last week, target shooters using explosive targets started a fire that burned about 200 acres; they were cited for using illegal targets. Two other fires have been attributed to target shooting in the last month in about the same area.

Tannerite much? How much? Two dozen fires worth? I doubt it. Anyway, the idea that plain old target shooting’s to blame for these wildfires is the meme of the day. And something must be done! Back to

“Now is not a good time to take your gun outside and start shooting in cheat grass that’s tinder dry,” Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said.”

Especially if there’s a wildfire raging. While Herbert knows better than to outright antagonize his gun owning voters (i.e. all of them), calls for a temporary emergency ban on outdoor firearms use are simmering in the Beehive State . . .

While authorities can ban certain fire-related activities when fire risks are high, that’s not true with guns, the carrying and use of which are staunchly protected by state and federal law, including several recent Supreme Court decisions.

In Utah, for example, a state law prohibits the state from enacting emergency bans on guns, putting Gov. Herbert in a position of instead asking county governments to issue emergency rules for outdoor gun use as wildfire conditions prevail across the West.

Wait. Yeah that’ll make them real popular.

Once again, government officials are looking to create preventative legislation against behaviors which are already illegal, evoking the law of unintended consequences while eroding individual liberty.

According to Sgt. Spencer Cannon with the Utah County Sheriff’s office, those found responsible for starting the fire can be charged for starting the fire if it is found they were acting in a reckless manner when the fire was ignited. Cannon said civil fines also could be imposed on the culprits to aid in recovering the cost of fighting the fire.

Can you imagine trying to [back] draft a law that would “pre-solve” this problem without enabling gun grabbers? Nor can I. How about tackling some of the land management practices (or lack thereof) that create conditions for wildfires instead?


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  1. Having lived in Provo, Utah, I saw a lot of these fires started on the west side of Utah Lake where people like to shoot. It’s actually pretty dangerous up in there sometimes because there are no rules and many of the shooters have no regard for safety. If someone doesn’t come up with a way to try and manage the shooting there (setup some proper lanes or something to that effect) the state will ban all shooting there and unfortunately, these fires are just giving the hater more ammunition (pun intended).

    • There’s a crapload of old junk out there that people like to shoot at (old appliances scrap metal, etc). Like I said, a lot of people who shoot out there don’t use common sense and just think you can blast away at anything without any consequences. Not saying this is the culprit of the fires, but again some of these bozos ain’t helping the cause.

    • Yesterday was 99F and 3%humidity with high winds in Utah, in a state this dry with annual droughts there is no way to reliably prevent grass fires. We get wild fires every year but it’s just the beginning of the fire season and we had six wild fires going acrossed the state including one 3 miles from my home. Some are started by incendiary or tracer rounds, some very few by steel core ammo like M855 hitting rocks and sparking, some others by tannerite or star targets which aren’t legal in many of the drier areas. There are signs posted in many of the areas people shoot that say no incendiary or tracer, but there are many irresponsible people who simply don’t care and they are the ones who should be prosecuted.

      The fun part is that they just started selling fireworks for the July 4th and 24th season (24th is the anniversary of the state’s settlement and also a firework happy holiday). Law allows fireworks to be shot off 3 days before and after certain holidays. Expect to see many many more fires starting on the 1st when firework use opens up.

      I’m forwarding the article about Gov Hubert to my friends and coworkers though. Advocating firearm restrictions is one of the fastest ways to find yourself out of an office in this state and we understand fully the nature of “emergency” bans and legislation.

  2. Does this mean the south americian cartel gangs can be prosecuted by the EPA for illegally dumping lead?

    • That was tried against a range in Ct actually. Judge told the plantive(I think it was a civil suit) to go sit on a cactus.

  3. You could see this one coming a mile away. The anti’s would use a cow pissin’ on a flat rock as an argument for ‘reasonable gun control.’

  4. “Once again, government officials are looking to create preventative legislation against behaviors which are already illegal”

    LOL what? Your very own quote above shows that the behavior is NOT illegal, and that is the problem. “While authorities can ban certain fire-related activities when fire risks are high, that’s not true with guns, the carrying and use of which are staunchly protected by state and federal law, including several recent Supreme Court decisions”. Several of these fires have been caused by ricochet, which apparently cannot be prosecuted, regardless of how stupid the behavior, or how much potential damage it can cause with the subsequent fire.

    So what you have is idiot gun owners (where’s a Venn diagram when you need one) starting fires with impunity because their bad behavior cannot be legislated against specifically.

    And you don’t see that as a problem?

    • If you start a forest fire in Utah you pay for the clean up & possibly face jail time. I think that makes starting forest fires with anything illegal in Utah.

    • It might be a problem if it were true, but the author of the article is simply wrong.The right to keep and bear arms has nothing at all to do with the imposition of liability for the illegal or negligent use of said firearms. The article is a crock.

  5. Tannerite it is an oxygen-robber and will actually extinguish and suppress fire.
    Similar chemical mixtures as tannerite is actually used to put out gas well fires. Furthermore, we wouldnt be in the situation we are in with wildfires if we would open our eyes and realize that natural wildfires and letting them burn out is good for forests and a natural occurence. Wildfire suppresion policies have created all the area that is overgrown with years of underbrush that create a nightmare situation when things get dry. As for tracers and steel core ammo, just use common sense, if its dry out, use regular ammo.

    • Good Grief. Yes, what you say is true but it also spews out sparks and hot debris at some distance and in the right conditions it can easily start a fire.

  6. Forgot to add: The problem with Tannerite is people placing jugs of gasoline next to the target to make a bigger boom. Gas and dry parched ground is a bad mix.

  7. The federal “land management agencies” should get resolve their cranial/rectal impaction and get grazing re-established on federal lands.

    The reason why these fires are blowing up so fast isn’t just the dry conditions. It is also the build-up of fine-stemmed ignition fuel across the west, brought on by the environmentalists’ legal war on public lands grazing.

    No grazing means lots of grasses and small forbs to help start fires – if no from a man-made spark, then the first dry thunderstorm that comes along.

  8. <i>How about tackling some of the land management practices (or lack thereof) that create conditions for wildfires instead?</i>
    That would involve regulation and infrastructure that would exceed the Global Warming crowd’s wildest fantasies- it’s not people creating these conditions, it’s nature. Shooters in the western states need to be mindful of forest conditions and shoot responsibly, using an incombustible backstop (like rock) in dry conditions. That’s really all there is to it. 

  9. There’s a place like that near where I live, it’s out past a prison and near a National Guard training range.Until a 3 years ago it wasn’t so bad, then the BLM created a “safety area” because of problems with BMX & Off roaders mixing with shooters, so shooters got pushed farther out.
    Sadly it’s just created more of a problem with shooters being too close together.  I’ve seen guys sighting rifles at long ranges shooting back toward a main hill that’s used as a backstop, but doing so across roads and at an angle that puts other’s in a peripheral line of fire.And the worst part is the off roaders and BMX’ers have started coming farther out into the area designated for shooting.
    I’ve stopped going to that location.

  10. Yup!  That exact thing happened here about a week ago, guys were out shooting Tannerite targets and started a range fire.
      I don’t know if it’s true for everywhere, but exploding targets are illegal to use on BLM land during the dry months.
    I’d actually like to test wether or not shooting normal lead & jacketed ammo can start fires.  Any fire I’ve heard of that’s related to shooting is tracers (a cop started a fire at their range using these), explosive targets, or a hot vehicle being parked on dry grass.

  11. How about we just ban people from dry areas, relocating them to camps a few states away until it’s deemed OK to return?

  12. What a total crock of crap. I guess gun shooters are responsible for global warming too and all the other evils in the world. These people are eff’n morons.

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