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Stuart Johnson, KSL TV

Forest Service asks public to clean up after themselves after target shooting leads to wildfire

By Alex Cabrero | Posted - Jul. 19, 2017 at 8:03 p.m.


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HOBBLE CREEK CANYON, Utah County — There are all sorts of hobbies people have to relieve stress. Griffin Soper of Spanish Fork prefers shooting.

"I find it really relaxing and calming,” he said.

Soper prefers it even more so when he needs to get away from it all.

"Especially long distance. It’s a lot more complicated. So you just have to really focus and breathe and just let it all out that way,” he said.

But even out in nature with good friends, sometimes it's tough to get away from society when society leaves so much behind.

"I'm not like a super environmentalist or anything, but we've got to protect these mountains,” Soper said. “They’re amazing."

Computers, furniture, appliances and more are being used as targets. It's an issue the U.S. Forest Service said is getting worse.

"If people leave garbage out there and a lot of their shells out there, it's not very pretty and we need to clean that stuff up," said Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest supervisor Dave Whittekiend.

There is also the issue of how dry conditions are right now.

The wildfire in Alpine earlier in the week was because of target shooters, just one of several incidents across the state this wildfire season.

"If you're doing regular shooting, watch where your bullets are going to go,” Whittekiend said. “If you can shoot into some sort of backdrop, like a hill or something like that, it's harder to start those fires."

The Forest Service said it all comes down to common sense and ethics. If you bring it there, take it away when you leave.

"It's not hard to pick it up when you're done, put it back in your truck or whatever. Take it back," Soper said.

The Forest Service said the agency is also working with cities like Alpine to address their concerns over target shooting on Forest Service land close to cities. The Forest Service said most shooters are ethical but, as with lots of issues, it is a small percentage of shooters doing it the wrong way.

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Alex Cabrero

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