Despite Causing Some of the Worst Wildfires in Years, Utah Can’t Regulate Target Shooting

Despite Some of the Worst Wildfires in Years, Utah Can’t Regulate Target Shooting

Despite Some of the Worst Wildfires in Years, Utah Can’t Regulate Target Shooting

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June 25 2012 4:07 PM

Despite Some of the Worst Wildfires in Years, Utah Can’t Regulate Target Shooting

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Utah's gun laws prevent more controls over target shooting, which is believed to cause one of the state's currently raging blazes. A fire in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Photo by HECTOR GUERRERO/AFP/Getty Images

Forest fires might be raging this season, but they haven’t yet generated enough heat for Utah’s government to ask for much more than a little self-regulation from gun owners.

What is reportedly the 20th target shooting-related wildfire this year in the state has led to the evacuation of 2,300 families and the loss of electricity to 7,000 homes in Northern Utah. The Bureau of Land Management believes the latest blaze was caused by a bullet hitting a rock during target practice. It’s one of an estimated 380 human-caused wildfires out of 400 in 2012 alone.

While a statewide ban on using ammo with steel in it on private and state land has been issued, current law in the state bars sheriffs from banning firearms. Governor Gary Herbert asked gun owners to exercise better judgment while choosing when and where, to shoot firearms.

The two shooters who started the fire called 911 and tried to put the fire out to no avail. Between 200 and 300 crews were fighting the fire over the weekend. 

Video by Paca Thomas.

Ben Johnson is the producer of Marketplace Tech from American Public Media.