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Over the weekend, two wildfires were started on the Pawnee National Grassland by recreational shooters. The Wildhorse Fire burned 19 acres on Saturday and the 96 Fire burned 7.1 acres on Sunday, both on the west side of the grassland off Weld County Road 96.
The Forest Service is seeking information about the Wildhorse Fire. Anyone who was near County Road 96 on Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. is asked to call 970-295-6682. On Sunday, someone was cited for starting the 96 Fire.
The recent warmer weather has caused an increase in the number of recreational shooters on the Pawnee National Grassland, along with grasses drying out. It is important for those heading to shoot on the Pawnee understand the rules and regulations related to this activity on the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland:
· Only shoot at cardboard/paper targets, manufactured metallic targets, self-healing targets or manufactured thrown-type clay targets. (Anything else, including exploding targets, is illegal.)
· 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 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 1/4 mile south of Weld County Road 96 and 1/4 mile west of County Road 63.
· The area along County Road 61 is also closed to recreational shooting due to the lack of safe backstops.
Respect all signs on the Pawnee. They can help keep you from breaking the regulations noted above. Visitors are asked to avoid congestion and safely disperse from other users and to only use the approved targets with a safe backstop. A safe backstop is one that can stop a bullet. Clean up your targets and do not attach targets to trees, fences, water tanks, windmills or other improvements. Be aware of livestock and other grassland visitors when shooting; keep your distance.
Recreational shooting information is available online at www.fs.usda.gov/goto/arp/targetshooting, including information about the Baker Draw Designated Shooting Area. 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.