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Target shooting OK on BLM lands starting Monday


Target shooting on public lands under Bureau of Land Management jurisdiction is going to be allowed starting Monday, due to reduced fire threats in Calaveras, Tuolumne and 10 other central California counties.

Staff at the BLM Mother Lode Field Office in El Dorado Hills say emergency fire restrictions are going to be lifted at 9 a.m. Monday. Target shooting has been restricted on BLM lands since July 20.

Bureau of Land Management administrators put some fire restrictions in place June 23, but they did not initiate emergency target shooting restrictions until July 20, four days after the destructive Detwiler Fire broke out in Hunters Valley near Lake McClure.

That blaze destroyed 63 homes, 67 other structures, and one commercial building, and 127 square miles of watershed along Highway 49 south of Coulterville. In August, Cal Fire investigators said the cause of the Detwiler Fire was discharge of firearms on public lands.

It cost $81,856,937 to suppress the Detwiler Fire, Cal Fire Deputy Chief Scott McLean, headquarters chief of information, said in September. No one has been cited or arrested.

The lifting of emergency fire restrictions applies to about 230,000 acres of public lands managed by the Mother Lode Field Office in Amador, Calaveras, Tuolumne, Mariposa, Merced, Stanislaus, San Joaquin, El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Nevada and Yuba counties.

Staff with BLM are urging outdoor enthusiasts to remember to be careful on public lands to prevent wildfire, especially when it comes to campfires, stoves and driving near dry brush.

For target shooters, BLM staff emphasized that hot bullet fragments and exploding targets from recreational shooting can spark wildfires. BLM staff also said shooters are responsible for fires started by shooting activities. But BLM staff did not mention the Detwiler Fire, how it started, or the fact that no one has been cited or arrested.

Contact Guy McCarthy at gmccarthy@uniondemocrat.com or (209) 588-4585. Follow him on Twitter @GuyMcCarthy.