Payson target shooter faces charges for starting wildfire
A Payson man faces a misdemeanor federal charge for using banned ammunition that started a fire on public land last fall.
The 34-year-old man and four friends were target shooting on BLM land near Payson on Sept. 3. Two fires started shortly after the man and two other people fired numerous rounds from an SKS rifle and a 9 mm pistol using bullets with steel jackets and/or steel cores. In addition, some of the ammunition seized from the man may have been tracer ammunition, according to court documents.
A notice about the ban was posted on a bulletin board the group passed that day. They did not stop to read it, but one member shared his recollection that there was a ban on steel-jacketed ammunition, according to a court document.
The man did not tell the others in the group he was using tracer ammunition until after a sheriff's deputy responded to a 911 call about the fire.
The cost of suppressing the fire, which burned 2.2 acres, was just over $1,000, according to a probable cause statement.
The man will appear in court on Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert T. Braithwaite and faces a possible penalty of up to 12 months in prison and a fine of up to $1,000.