Two fires in the last week on the Pawnee National Grassland

In the last week, two wildfires burned on the Pawnee National Grassland – both human-caused. The Little Sand Fire burned 560 acres and the 500 Fire burned 29 acres on public and private land on the west side of the Grasslands. Citations are being issued for shooting at illegal targets and starting a fire.

Conditions on the Pawnee are dry. Be sure to stay on roads, as hot catalytic converters can start fires in tall grasses. Your extra caution can go a long way to avoid human-caused fires. If you accidentally cause a fire, please do not leave the area unless you need to do so for safety.

This extra caution includes knowing the rules, regulations and best practices of recreational shooting on the Pawnee National Grassland. When shooting firearms, please take safety precautions and be mindful that hot projectiles and sparks from ricochets can ignite fires in dry grassy areas and in other dry brushy fuels.

· Only shoot at cardboard/paper targets, self-healing targets, manufactured metallic targets, or manufactured thrown-type clay targets. (No wooden backing allowed. Leave the pumpkins at home.) It is up to a $5,000 fine and/or imprisonment for up to six months for using an unapproved target.
· 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 on or across a National Forest System Road or across a body of water.
· Do not shoot in any manner or place where any person or property is exposed to injury or damage.
· Do not possess an open container of an alcoholic beverage while discharging a firearm.
· The area located in Township 8N, Range 63W, Section 7 is closed to recreational shooting for ¼ mile south of Weld County Road 96 and ¼ mile west of County Road 63. Shooting adjacent to the Baker Draw Designated Shooting area is also prohibited.
· No tracer rounds or incendiary rounds allowed. Exploding targets are prohibited.
· Clean up your targets and casings.
· Be aware of livestock and other grassland visitors.
· Respect all signs while visiting the Pawnee National Grassland.
· Additional information is available online at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/targetshooting.

For safety reasons, it is important to disperse yourself while shooting. Have a map of the area, as much of the Pawnee is intermixed with private land. Once confirming you are on the Pawnee in an area not closed to shooting, confirm you have a safe backstop.

The Baker Draw Designated Shooting area, located near the intersection of County Roads 96 and 63, is a free site with berms providing 25, 50 and 100-yard shooting opportunities. There is a parking area, informational kiosk, restrooms and 30 shooting lanes with 26 benches. Users must “pack-in, pack-out” spent shells and targets.

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