Recreational Shooting Tied to County Fires

500 percent increase in target shooting-started fires

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    CAL FIRE/San Diego County Fire Authority
    A Russian-made bullet with a 7.62 x 54R caliber has been among those found this year at 10 target shooting-caused fire scenes in San Diego.

    Guns don't start fires. People start fires.

    CAL FIRE/San Diego County Fire Authority preached common sense Monday as part of a new public awareness campaign during a year that has seen an "alarming" increase in the number of San Diego fires started by recreational target shooting, fire captain Mike Mohler said.

    Mohle reported that 10 fires this year have been caused by target shooting, a 500 percent increase from two such fires last year.

    In this year's incidents, fire parties ruled negligent were fined a combined $253,747 for resources.

    The frequency jump has led to a new public education program.

    "Be aware of your surroundings, the type of ammunition you use, and weather," Mohler said. "You don't want to be out there in 100-degree temperatures with single-digit humidity."

    Ideal shooting conditions are during cooler day times at brush clearances.

    Steel-tipped or steel-colored bullets can spark fires when they strike rocks or come apart, Mohler cautioned.

    Round types discovered at fire locations include a Russian-made bullet with a 7.62 x 54R caliber and a 5.56 x 45 caliber from an M4 rifle.