Target Shooting Poses Big Threat for Brush Fires - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Target Shooting Poses Big Threat for Brush Fires

Posted: Updated:

BENTON COUNTY, Wash.-- Target shooting is a fun activity for many people in the area and with these warm, sunny days, more shooters are heading outdoors for some practice.

However, firefighters say that target shooting sparks several brush fires every summer.

Benton County Fire District 1 says it's something they can count on each year and it's easy to avoid if people would just obey the laws.

Hundreds of acres burned last summer in a popular target shooting area around Owens Road in Benton County.

People are not allowed to shoot there anymore and the fire district wants people to get the message to stop.

If a bullet hits a rock and throws a spark on dry grass, a fire can spread rapidly.

The increased fire danger level arrived early this year, making it crucial for people to get the message now before the next fire sparks.

"People are not allowed to shoot in there like they used to. That was a hot area for us last year and because of that the homeowners or landowners and sheriff's office got together and they're restricting those areas. Best thing to do for target shooting is go to a shooting range," said Capt. Jeff Ripley, Benton County Fire District 1.

Ripley said the fire district can predict with 100% reliability that people will ignore restrictions and find other places to target shoot and spark another fire hot spot.

He encourages people to do all they can to prevent illegal target shooting.