UTAH COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 News) – State fire officials have ordered that some areas west and south of Utah Lake be closed to target shooting. This is being done because of recent target shooting-related wildfires in Utah County and worsening fire conditions.
Officials said over the last several weeks there have been more than seven wildfires started on Lake Mountain and West Mountain. At least seven of those are known to have been started by individuals or groups who were target shooting.
Related: Utah’s Wildfire season: Why the 2020 season is off to a dangerous start
Five of the fires are known to have been started by individuals or groups using exploding targets. By Utah County Code exploding targets are prohibited within the unincorporated area of Utah County including state and federal public lands except as specifically allowed by this code, according to officials.
In consultation with Sheriff Mike Smith and Brett Ostler, Utah State Fire Management Officer and Brian Cottam, Utah State Forester, has ordered the closure of all unincorporated private land and all state land directly west of Utah Lake, as all land on West Mountain above 4,500′ elevation be closed to target shooting.
Related: Brush fire comes dangerously close to homes in Eagle Mountain
As an alternative, Utah County Public Works said they will have a partial opening of the Soldier Pass Shooting Range. The furthest south shooting lane will be open beginning Saturday, June 27.
Officials said ongoing finish work on the remainder of the range will continue, but it is important to not use those areas as there is a significant risk of ricochet injury because of the rock surface of the target area.
Officials strongly encourage all target shooters to be responsible by not using trash for targets, including old furniture, TVs, appliances, or anything else of that nature. They also want all target shooters to keep this range and any other legal target shooting areas clean by picking up spent casing and target material.