Caution urged after series of fires on Pawnee National Grassland

The Forest Service is asking visitors to Pawnee National Grassland to exercise caution because of dry conditions. Three accidental fires have been reported on the grasslands, including a Jan. 29 fire that was between 50-100 acres in size and burned on both private and public land.

Warm weather has invited many visitors to the PNG in recent weeks. In fact, over 100 contacts were made with recreational shooters alone on the grassland on Jan. 29. With the increase of activity, visitors are reminded to avoid congestion and safely disperse from other users when enjoying the PNG.

“If fire conditions remain the same, we may have to consider temporarily closing the Pawnee National Grassland to a number of uses,” Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland Forest Supervisor Glenn Casamassa said.

Visitors are asked to make themselves aware of any rules and regulations associated with their given activity to help protect PNG resources and other grassland users. Since the most popular activity currently is recreational shooting, visitors are urged to follow these regulations:

· Shoot further than 150 yards from a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation area or occupied area. (This includes the Pawnee Bird Tour pull outs.)
· Do not shoot across or on a National Forest System Road or adjacent body of water.
· Do not shoot in any manner or place where any person or property is exposed to injury or damage as a result of such discharge.
· Do not fire any tracer bullets or incendiary ammunition.
· Only shoot at cardboard/paper targets, manufactured metallic targets, or manufactured thrown-type clay targets.
· Do not possess an open container of an alcoholic beverage while discharging a fire arm.

Also read all signs in the area for closure information. Remember when shooting to only use the approved targets with a safe backstop. Make sure not to attach targets on trees, fences, water tanks, windmills or other improvements. Be aware of livestock and other grassland visitors when shooting and keep your distance. For more shooting information, check the web at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/targetshooting.

Regulations for other activities can be found on the web at www.fs.usda.gov/arp or call visitor information services at 970-346-5000.

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