As of Tuesday, visitors to national forests in Oregon and Washington are prohibited from possessing, discharging or using exploding targets, the U.S. Forest Service announced.
The agency said exploding targets are a documented cause of wildfires, and have been associated with at least five wildfires on National Forest System lands since 2012, resulting in more than 15,600 acres burned and approximately $30 million in suppression costs.
“Exploding targets are an increasing concern on National Forests in this Region due to their potential to harm the public and for the high temperatures—and often flames—generated when they explode,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Michael Loudermilk.
Exploding targets (one of the best known is Tannerite) generally consist of two or more separate chemical components, that, when mixed, become an explosive designed to produce a visual and audible display intended for use as a target for firearms practice.
These targets typically consist of a fuel and an oxidizer, such as ammonium nitrate and aluminum, which can be purchased legally online and at retail stores. They explode forcefully and with enough force to scatter burning material.
"The prohibition of exploding targets on National Forest System lands is not intended to deter or adversely affect the sport of target shooting," the agency said in its announcement.
"The prohibition is directed at concerns over the potential for fire ignition associated with the use of exploding targets on public lands. The Forest Service fully recognizes hunting and safe target shooting as a valid use of National Forest System lands."
The closure order was signed by Deputy Regional Forester Maureen Hyzer and is being implemented to protect public health and safety. The closure order expires June 20, 2015, or when rescinded.
Any violation of this prohibition is punishable as a Class B misdemeanor by a fine of not more than $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations or by imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.
The closure order can be found on file at the Pacific Northwest Region (USFS), 333 SW First Ave., Portland OR 97208. For information about this order, please contact Assistant Special Agent in Charge Michael Loudermilk at (360) 891-5278.