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Where There's Smoke, There's Gunfire: Firearms Blamed for Forest Fires

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June 28, 2012
Where There's Smoke, There's Gunfire: Firearms Blamed for Forest Fires - 13

Recreational shooters are being blamed for starting forest fires across the West, including the stubborn blazes now sweeping across large swaths of Colorado, prompting gun control proponents to call for rescinding a 2010 federal law that lifted restrictions on firearms in national parks.

And in some instances, where there's smoke, there's gunfire: Irresponsible target-shooters have given gun-grabbers a golden opportunity to use these calamities to attack all gun owners.

At least 19 forest fires this year in Utah have been attributed to irresponsible firearms use, according to the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands.

In Colorado, the FBI, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the U.S. Forest Service have determined that the huge fire threatening Colorado Springs was caused by recreational target-shooters.

The fallout from these fires could be a knee-jerk review of the 2010 federal law, prohibiting states from banning firearms in 389 of 392 national parks.

The fact that none of the fires were ignited by firearms used in a national park, but on other public lands where recreational shooting was already allowed before 2010, is a nettlesome detail that won't derail gun-control zealots' demands to make forests gun-free zones.

Use common sense when enjoying firearms on public lands or gun-grabbers will impose their version of "common sense" restrictions on all gun owners.

For more, go to:

Video: Wildfires in Utah spark off debates over gun rights

Utah shooters spark 20 wildfires -- and a gun rights controversy

Raging Wildfires in Colorado prompts FBI investigation

Officials: Gunfire likely started Springer blaze

Hot, dry West means firing guns can start blazes

Shooting may have started fire near Lake George

Comments (13)

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from 6phunter wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

traditional bowhunters started those fires,by using flint arrowheads,everybody knows this was a common occurence back in old west days. (*)(*) boob heads.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

It is tradition here to spend part of Independence Day at the range. This thread got me in the experimental mood about how to start a fire with gunfire.
So we tried to recreate a fire in very dry grass using FMJ bullets on iron targets-no fire or even a spark after 100 rounds varying angles. Misted the grass with gasoline and tried again - no sparks & no fire.
Looking forward to larger boom to get in the spirit of the day we shot FMJ and copper ammo into a metal gas can with a little gas and a lot fumes. Ended with a gas can full of holes but no boom.
Then tried some 22 tracer rounds into the gas misted dry grass - no fire. Shot tracer into into the gas can after 7 shots finally the boom and a little fire we were looking for.
We had also tried shooting a variety of fireworks to set them off. We hit them but nothing happened except for shredding perfectly good fireworks.
The conclusion - only Hollywood movies can reliably start a fire or explosion with gunfire.
later,
charlie
BTW we had fire extinguishers, adequate water sources & hands on deck to put out any fires.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

huntfishtrap, I will politely disagree with you regarding the AP. They are wrong or misleading at least 50% of the time and when it comes to anything gun related they are nearly always wrong.
later,
charlie

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Colorado Samurai wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

I tried to think about this. Unless people are firing steel bullets at flint targets or vice versa, the bullet is not the problem. The only way I can think that a gun would start a forest fire is if the muzzle flash caught some bushes on fire. I do not intend to practice shooting near bushes.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from huntfishtrap wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Charlie elk: No, I haven't read those linked stories, I got my info from an Associated Press article, and while no news agency is perfect, they're about as reliable as it gets.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

huntfishtrap,
Have you read the linked stories?
Looks like the anti gunners are trying to start the narrative that gunfire can set off a fire in order to get the ignorant worked up to ban target practice. Way down at the bottom of the story many of the government experts admit it is unlikely any of these fires were started by gunfire.
However, what appears to be happening in some cases, irresponsible lawbreaking idiots are using exploding targets in very dry areas. These targets like all other fireworks including tracer rounds are banned on public property.
It would be nice if the press made the distinction between the effect of bullets and exploding targets.
later,
charlie

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from huntfishtrap wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

@charlie elk: You're right, lead doesn't spark, but FMJ bullets can, and from what I understand that's what they were using. Guess I should've been more specific. As for why they didn't stamp it out, who knows...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Ricocheting lead does not spark even if it hits steel. Perhaps some idiot was using a tracer round?
But even then if the grass caught fire the shooter didn't just stamp it out?
I find it very hard to believe gunfire can start a fire. If it did why would we need to carry matches?
later,
charlie

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from huntfishtrap wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

I hadn't heard that about the Colorado fires, but the biggest fire in Utah was started by gunfire at an outdoor shooting range, because the people were shooting at metal gong targets surrounded by tall dry grass, and the ricochets caused enough sparks for the grass to catch.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Charlie Given Jr wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

The Colorado fire was started by an arsonist, not a shooter.

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from tkreit wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Guns don't cause forest fires, people and lightening cause forest fires!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Johnnie wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Was it recreational target-shooters? Or was it anti-gunners with guns starting the fires? Wouldn't surprise me that anti-gun people would start trouble by using guns and blame the law-abiding gun owners for it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bob Hansen wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Hi...

I'm curious as to how those fires were started by gunfire.

Gunfire by itself can't start a fire unless: a bullet, by some miracle, hits a rock which then ricochets off of another rock, causing a spark (highly unlikely)...or a firearm is fired into flammable tinder on the ground at close range.

Military-type incindiary (tracer) bullets could also ignite these fires. As might those "exploding" targets which are becoming available.

But is there anyone with evidence as to how any of these many fires...like the ones in Colorado and Utah...were started by gunfire?

I think somebody's legs are getting pulled here...!!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)

from Bob Hansen wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Hi...

I'm curious as to how those fires were started by gunfire.

Gunfire by itself can't start a fire unless: a bullet, by some miracle, hits a rock which then ricochets off of another rock, causing a spark (highly unlikely)...or a firearm is fired into flammable tinder on the ground at close range.

Military-type incindiary (tracer) bullets could also ignite these fires. As might those "exploding" targets which are becoming available.

But is there anyone with evidence as to how any of these many fires...like the ones in Colorado and Utah...were started by gunfire?

I think somebody's legs are getting pulled here...!!

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Ricocheting lead does not spark even if it hits steel. Perhaps some idiot was using a tracer round?
But even then if the grass caught fire the shooter didn't just stamp it out?
I find it very hard to believe gunfire can start a fire. If it did why would we need to carry matches?
later,
charlie

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 1 year 41 weeks ago

It is tradition here to spend part of Independence Day at the range. This thread got me in the experimental mood about how to start a fire with gunfire.
So we tried to recreate a fire in very dry grass using FMJ bullets on iron targets-no fire or even a spark after 100 rounds varying angles. Misted the grass with gasoline and tried again - no sparks & no fire.
Looking forward to larger boom to get in the spirit of the day we shot FMJ and copper ammo into a metal gas can with a little gas and a lot fumes. Ended with a gas can full of holes but no boom.
Then tried some 22 tracer rounds into the gas misted dry grass - no fire. Shot tracer into into the gas can after 7 shots finally the boom and a little fire we were looking for.
We had also tried shooting a variety of fireworks to set them off. We hit them but nothing happened except for shredding perfectly good fireworks.
The conclusion - only Hollywood movies can reliably start a fire or explosion with gunfire.
later,
charlie
BTW we had fire extinguishers, adequate water sources & hands on deck to put out any fires.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from tkreit wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Guns don't cause forest fires, people and lightening cause forest fires!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

huntfishtrap,
Have you read the linked stories?
Looks like the anti gunners are trying to start the narrative that gunfire can set off a fire in order to get the ignorant worked up to ban target practice. Way down at the bottom of the story many of the government experts admit it is unlikely any of these fires were started by gunfire.
However, what appears to be happening in some cases, irresponsible lawbreaking idiots are using exploding targets in very dry areas. These targets like all other fireworks including tracer rounds are banned on public property.
It would be nice if the press made the distinction between the effect of bullets and exploding targets.
later,
charlie

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from charlie elk wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

huntfishtrap, I will politely disagree with you regarding the AP. They are wrong or misleading at least 50% of the time and when it comes to anything gun related they are nearly always wrong.
later,
charlie

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from 6phunter wrote 1 year 40 weeks ago

traditional bowhunters started those fires,by using flint arrowheads,everybody knows this was a common occurence back in old west days. (*)(*) boob heads.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Johnnie wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Was it recreational target-shooters? Or was it anti-gunners with guns starting the fires? Wouldn't surprise me that anti-gun people would start trouble by using guns and blame the law-abiding gun owners for it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Charlie Given Jr wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

The Colorado fire was started by an arsonist, not a shooter.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from huntfishtrap wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

I hadn't heard that about the Colorado fires, but the biggest fire in Utah was started by gunfire at an outdoor shooting range, because the people were shooting at metal gong targets surrounded by tall dry grass, and the ricochets caused enough sparks for the grass to catch.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from huntfishtrap wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

@charlie elk: You're right, lead doesn't spark, but FMJ bullets can, and from what I understand that's what they were using. Guess I should've been more specific. As for why they didn't stamp it out, who knows...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from huntfishtrap wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

Charlie elk: No, I haven't read those linked stories, I got my info from an Associated Press article, and while no news agency is perfect, they're about as reliable as it gets.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Colorado Samurai wrote 1 year 42 weeks ago

I tried to think about this. Unless people are firing steel bullets at flint targets or vice versa, the bullet is not the problem. The only way I can think that a gun would start a forest fire is if the muzzle flash caught some bushes on fire. I do not intend to practice shooting near bushes.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)