SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Campfires and target shooting with a firearm have been temporarily banned in Utah wildlife management areas due to wildfire concerns.
The Utah Division of Wildfire Resources announced the temporary ban for its 146 wildlife management areas Wednesday morning as fire crews work to mitigate at least three major wildfires statewide.
Wildlife management areas are vital to providing important winter ranges and feeding grounds for many wildlife species, like big game, DWR explains. They help to minimize and mitigate wildlife depredation on private property.
DWR says the temporary ban will protect Utah’s wildlife management areas.
“Significant resources go toward improving the habitat in these wildlife and waterfowl management areas to make them more beneficial for a variety of wildlife species, which is why these proactive, preventative measures are so important,” DWR Director Rory Reynolds says. “Protecting these resources from wildfire is crucial for wildlife and is a huge benefit for anglers, hunters, and other wildlife enthusiasts who utilize these properties.”
Starting now, and until fire conditions improve, target shooting with firearms is not allowed on any WMA, except for in the established shooting range areas here:
- Big Hollow WMA
- Fillmore WMA
- Hobble Creek WMA
Legal possession of a firearm and hunting are not affected, just target shooting with a firearm.
Campfires of any kind, including portable fire pits, are not allowed on any of the WMAs. As always, fireworks and explosives are not allowed on Utah’s WMAs.
Governor Spencer Cox recently issued his third executive order declaring a state of emergency due to the state’s drought conditions. On June 8, he issued a ban on fireworks on state lands. As of June 9, DWR reports there have been 330 wildfires across the state – 284 of which were human-caused.
Conservation officers will be enforcing the temporary restrictions. If you are visiting any WMA, you are encouraged to keep your eyes open and report any campfires, fireworks, or any firearm target shooting by calling the UTIP hotline at 1-800-662-DEER (3336), submitting through the UTDWR Law Enforcement app, or by texting 847411.
These temporary restrictions will be evaluated throughout the fire season.