This is an archived article that was published on in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

We hear a lot of talk about target shooting causing fires. In my 34 years with the Army, National Guard and Army Reserve, I have been responsible for hundreds of firing ranges in the United States and Europe and have seen more than a dozen fires started at practice ranges.

Machine guns always fire tracer rounds. Every fire I have seen was either started by tracers or by shooting at pyrotechnic (explosive) targets, which are sold in sporting goods stores all over the United States, as are tracer rounds.

Both are fun to shoot, just like fireworks are fun to shoot. But fireworks, tracers and pyrotechnics do not belong in Utah's wildlands during fire season.

On the other hand, shooting conventional rounds is as combustible as hammering in a nail. And carpentry does not normally cause fires.

So people who think life isn't any fun if they can't shoot at pyrotechnic targets should only fire at professionally designed and managed ranges. On the other hand, those who believe the alarmism that sparks from conventional ammunition cause wildfires are believing a fairy tale.

David J. Adamson

American Fork