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Randall Jeppesen, KSL Newsradio If you plan on going out shooting guns this holiday week, don't head for Utah County. A ban is now place on shooting guns because of the fire danger.
Due to dried out vegetation, Utah County Fire Marshal Dennis Barker and the sheriff says no more shooting guns: "We found five fires so far this year that were attributed to firearm discharge."
Barker says the ban is unusual, but he says it's so hot and so dry that it's not worth the risk; "Some of these fires are costing the county about $1 million to put them out."
The ban is for all of unincorporated Utah County and there's no date yet as to when the ban expires.
Utah County press release: Effective immediately the discharge of all firearms in the unincorporated areas of Utah County is prohibited until the currently dry weather conditions improve. The recent pattern of hot day time temperatures, high winds, and dry fuel conditions have increased the probability of a wild-land fire exponentially. The discharge of a firearm is the suspected cause of several fires that have been attributed to people discharging firearms in the unincorporated areas of Utah County.
Fires are not uncommon at "make-shift" shooting areas or unauthorized shooting area's. To date, two large fires have started as a result of firearms shooting activities in the unincorporated Utah County area. A fire can start as a result of "sparks" when a bullet ricochets off of rock or other debris. This type of fire can spread very rapidly and endanger not only our environment, but our communities, and the lives of County citizens and responding firefighter personnel as well. The cost of fighting these fires is often overwhelming. If an investigation determines who is at fault for starting a fire, that individual may be held liable for all costs associated with fighting the fire.
To increase compliance with this temporary restriction, the Utah County Fire Marshal and Sheriff's Office, and the Bureau of Land Management office will step up patrol and enforcement of the firearm discharge restriction in the unincorporated areas of Utah County.
We are aware that many people enjoy a day of firearm shooting and being outdoors. However, until this restriction is lifted, we would encourage that you restrict your firearm shooting activities to an approved or developed firearms range. We appreciate the public's willingness to partner with Utah County Public Safety Officials and comply with this restriction during this dangerous fire season.