The Firearm Industry and Trade Association (NSSF) has a very important message for hunters this season: “help prevent wildfires.”
Without meaning to, hunters have the increased chance to accidentally set wildfires by using certain types of ammunition or targets. This also goes for people who are target shooting on their own private land.
So, as part of an effort to ensure hunters can still enjoy their favorite activity, the NSSF has issued a short guide to help hunters stay safe — and protect the environment around them. Here’s a short summary.
Dry Conditions Can Lead to Enhanced Chances of Wildfires
With many areas of the country experiencing a lack of rain, the vegetation is extremely dry. That can lead to having one simple spark ignite a raging out-of-control fire. This is why the NSSF has gone to great lengths to educate shooters and hunters on how to prevent this from happening. They have released an audio and video public service announcement that details some of the statistics and facts surrounding human-set wildfires. There is also a wildfire prevention poster that you can print out from their website.
Some Facts on Wildfires
It’s estimated that 50,000 wildfires are caused by people each year alone in the United States. When you look at the amount of acreage that is burned annually, it amounts to millions and millions of land killing valuable trees and wildlife. Most of the fires take place in the south and the eastern parts of the United States so you have to be extra careful if you live in those areas.
Firefighting these intense blazes costs at least two billion dollars each year. That’s a lot of money spent on something that is basically preventable with the proper precautions.
How Can Hunters Do Their Part?
Hunters can ensure they are not part of the problem by taking a few easy steps.
First, make sure that you don’t use tracer ammunition. This style of ammo contains a tiny pyrotechnic charge in the base of the bullet that can potentially ignite something when it hits. When you are hunting and miss the target, this ammo can cause a fire in dry bushes or grassland.
Another big no-no right now is to use exploding targets. This kind of target contains ammonium nitrate, fuel, and theatrical powder. While they may be fun to use in the proper, they can accidentally start a fire in the wild.
Finally when you are out hunting or camping, make sure you dispose of cigarettes properly, extinguish all campfires completely, and don’t leave your vehicle running. The heat from your exhaust can ignite a fire in dry vegetation.
Being responsible when you are out in the woods enjoying the great outdoors is everyone’s job. The NSSF also recommends that if you see a wildfire, it’s vital to report it quickly before the damage spreads even further.
Most of these tips are common sense, but considering that 90 percent of wildfires are manmade, it makes sense that the NSSF is going to such great lengths to make sure the public is educated.