Beginning July 9, 2013, visitors to national forests in Oregon and Washington are prohibited from possessing, discharging, or using exploding targets.
Exploding targets are a documented cause of wildfires, and have been associated with at least five wildfires on National Forest System lands since 2012, resulting in more than 15,600 acres burned and approximately $30 million in suppression costs.
Exploding targets generally consist of two or more separate chemical components, that, when mixed, become an explosive designed to produce a visual and audible display intended for use as a target for firearms practice. These targets typically consist of a fuel and an oxidizer, such as ammonium nitrate and aluminum, which can be purchased legally online and at retail stores. They explode forcefully and with enough force to scatter burning material.
The prohibition of exploding targets on National Forest System lands is not intended to deter or adversely affect the sport of target shooting. The prohibition is directed at concerns over the potential for fire ignition associated with the use of exploding targets on public lands. The Forest Service fully recognizes hunting and safe target shooting as a valid use of National Forest System lands.
The closure order was signed by Deputy Regional Forester Maureen Hyzer and is being implemented to protect public health and safety. The closure order expires June 20, 2015, or until rescinded. Any violation of this prohibition is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor by a fine of not more than $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations or by imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.
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