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Idaho Fire Incident Map

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Gap Fire Caused By Exploding Targets

Twitter: @BLMIdahoFire
(#GapFire & BLMIFDFire)

POCATELLO, ID – Investigators have determined that the June 8th Gap Fire was caused by shooters illegally using exploding targets. The Gap Fire ultimately burned 486 acres.

The conditions for a wildfire aligned perfectly the day of the Gap Fire. It was a hot, windy day that only needed a spark to cause a fire in the dry grass. The potential of exploding targets to start wildfires is why the BLM Fire Prevention Order is in place. The BLM prohibits exploding targets on BLM lands from May to October 20th.

Exploding targets are a binary explosive. A binary explosive consists of two components that are mixed together to cause a reaction. An exploding target usually consists of ammonium nitrate, the fuel, and aluminum powder, the catalyst. To set off an explosion, the mixture needs energy, which comes from the kinetic energy of a fast-moving bullet. When a bullet hits the mixture a loud bang and puff of smoke occur and heat is given off. The heat produced by the reaction can then spark a wildfire.

Shoot responsibly! Using exploding targets on BLM lands is a misdemeanor and violators could be liable for costs associated with fire suppression, rehabilitation and property damage.

Take these shooting precautions:

  • ·         Check weather conditions. Hot + Dry + Wind = Quick Spreading Wildfires
  • ·         Choose a shooting area that is clear of dry grass/vegetation and rocks.
  • ·         Always bring water, a fire extinguisher, and a shovel.
  • ·         Discharging a firearm using incendiary, steel core or tracer ammunition is prohibited on BLM lands from May to October 20th.
  •      Burning, igniting or causing to burn explosive material, including exploding targets is prohibited on BLM lands from May to October 20th.