Skip to Content

Target shooting causes fires


IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI) - The Idaho Falls Fire Department, Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office and Bureau of Land Management – Idaho Falls District wants to remind you the smallest of ignition sources during hot and windy conditions could easily cause a fire and result in a misdemeanor or a felony. 

Target shooting with certain types of ammunition and exploding targets creates an easy ignition source. According to the BLM, exploding targets are prohibited on public land from May 10 until October 20. Using a proper target, such as a cardboard box or paper to limit the chance of a wildfire is recommended. In addition, law enforcement and firefighters ask that the public be cognizant of their surroundings and activities while shooting on public lands. 

“Target shooting has already started one fire in the foothills this year,” IFFD Battalion Chief Lance Johnson said. “Much of the foothills east of Idaho Falls is private property. Countless people have gone there to shoot without permission, causing numerous fires over the years."

 In 2018, three separate fires in Bonneville County were caused by target shooting, burning a total of 230 acres.  

“You could be charged with a crime and liable for costs associated with fire suppression, rehabilitation, and property damage,” said Sgt. Bryan Lovell with the Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office. “Violation of the current burn ban restrictions set forth by the Bonneville County Commissioners’ resolution could also result in a misdemeanor."

While the 2016 Henry’s Creek Fire in Bonneville County was caused by fireworks rather than target shooting, the individual responsible for that was fire was ordered to pay more than $1.7 million in restitution. More than 50,000 acres burned and it took 260 personnel fighting the blaze for nearly two weeks to suppress the fire. 

The BLM recommends taking these shooting precautions: 

  • Check weather conditions prior to shooting. Hot + Dry + Wind = Quick spreading wildfires. 
  • Choose a shooting area that is clear of dry grass/vegetation and rocks. 
  • Have a proper backstop. 
  • 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 10 to October 20. 
  • Burning, igniting, or causing to burn explosive material, including exploding targets is prohibited on BLM lands from May 10 to October 20. 
Article Topic Follows: Idaho Falls

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

News Team


KIFI Local News 8 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content