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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
News >  Spokane

Target shooting to blame for annual wildfires near Fishtrap, officials say

From staff reports

Officials say target shooting is to blame for yearly wildfires in the Fishtrap Recreation Area on the western border of Spokane County.

Jeff Clark, a spokesman for the Bureau of Land Management, said Friday that target shooting has caused seven wildfires in the past five years. He said about 70 acres are still blackened from the most recent fire Aug. 2.

“We’re not outlawing target shooting,” Clark said. “But we did want to get it out there that any tracer rounds, explosives, incendiary devices – those are prohibited on public lands.”

Clark also said shooters should “use common sense” by coming to the range prepared with a shovel and a bucket of water.

In 2014, shooting was to blame for the Watermelon Hill fire, which threatened over 100 structures and burned 10,500 acres of land about 26 miles west of Spokane. The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said the fire was caused by people shooting at an explosive target.

Clark said the BLM is not interested in stopping shooting, but it did want shooters to be aware of “know before you go” guidelines.

“Know the local conditions and avoid shooting into loose rocks or dry vegetation,” he said. “Avoid extremely hot and windy days, and remember explosive targets, tracer rounds and fireworks are prohibited on federal public lands.”

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