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DWR Banning Target Shooting, Campfires On WMAs Due To Fire Danger

(Utah Division of Wildlife Resources)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources announced campfires and target shooting with a firearm will be temporarily banned due to wildfire risks.

Officials said the ban is effective immediately on the 146 wildlife management areas (WMAs) across the state.

“With the extreme dry conditions, any spark can start a fire,” said DWR Habitat Section Chief Eric Edgley. “With firearm target shooting, sparks from metal targets aren’t the only threat — a bullet or other projectile glancing off a rock is all it takes to cause a spark and a fire. Last year, two large wildfires on WMAs burned several hundred acres of wildlife habitat and were started by target shooting with firearms. Obviously, campfires and fireworks also create sparks that can cause wildfires.”

The restrictions only apply to target shooting with a firearm on the WMAs — officials said hunting and legal possession of a firearm are not affected.

Target shooting will be allowed in established shooting range areas at the Big Hollow, Fillmore and Hollow Creek WMAs.

Campfires of any kind, including portable fire pits, are not allowed during the ban and fireworks and explosives are never allowed on WMAs.

Conservation officers will be enforcing the restrictions, which will be reevaluated throughout the fire season.

“Significant resources go toward improving the habitat in these wildlife and waterfowl management areas to make them more beneficial for a variety of wildlife species, which is why these proactive, preventative measures are so important,” said DWR Director Rory Reynolds. “Protecting these resources from wildfire is crucial for wildlife and is a huge benefit for anglers, hunters and other wildlife enthusiasts who utilize these properties.”

As of Wednesday, there had been 330 wildfires across the state and 284 of them were caused by humans.

Gov. Spencer Cox issued a new executive order on drought conditions in Utah, which includes limiting watering at state facilities and encouraging all residents to practice water conservation. He also called for a ban on fireworks for all state and unincorporated lands.

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