SHOOTING -- Slob shooters are responsible for forcing the Department of Natural Resources to close an informal shooting range near Suncrest.
The shooting range on State Highway 291, known as Stonelodge or Mile Marker 19, has been the site of two fires started by target shooters this year, according to Stevens County Fire District 1. Four fires were started there by shooters in 2015.
While fire danger is cited as the immediate concern and cause for the closure, the site over the years also has suffered extensive damage to trees from gunfire and garbage has been an issue, including TVs and other items used for targets and left.
Destructive behavior by shooters prompted the Spokane County Commissioners to create no shooting zones around two DNR areas in 2013.
Recent hot and dry weather has increased the fire danger in Spokane, Lincoln and Stevens counties to high.
In addition, incendiary devices - including fireworks, exploding targets and tracer ammunition - are illegal on all DNR land. Those who violate the shooting closure could be fined.
The shooting range may reopen as conditions allow, officials say
The agency on Saturday enacted a burn ban on all its land in Eastern Washington.