A week after target shooting ignited a wildfire that shuttered a Weber County reservoir and forced evacuations at Powder Mountain Resort, officials in the county have temporarily banned recreational shooting to prevent future fires.
County officials on Thursday enacted fire restrictions aimed solely at target shooting. The ban affects all unincorporated private land in addition to all state lands in Weber County east of Avon Pass Road, west of Powder Mountain Road and north of 5400 North in Liberty.
The ban is scheduled to expire Sept. 20, according to the order. The decision comes a week after target shooting sparked the nearly 800-acre Avon Fire, and the restrictions were put in place in the area around the fire.
Weber Fire District Capt. Rick Cooper told The Salt Lake Tribune the temporary ban was put in place, in part, to protect firefighters who will be monitoring the Avon Fire area over the next few weeks, but also because the area is extremely dry.
“We were hoping for relief, and it’s just not coming,” he said.
For example, Cooper said he knows of at least one fire started this summer in Utah from a horse clanging its steel shoe against a rock. When conditions are that dry, Cooper said, officials have to do something to hinder fires.
Weber County officials tweeted that the Avon Fire was contained Tuesday, adding, “Please drive slow when in the fire area and absolutely no shooting.”
The new restriction is limited only to target shooting. Shooting for hunting or as part of scheduled law enforcement training is still allowed, the order says.
One commenter responded to the decision in a post on Weber Fire District’s Facebook page, saying, “4 months too late."
Officials replied, “It isn’t entirely our call, we have to work with state and federal rules and regulations. It’s a lot more complicated than people think. We try to do what’s best while respecting everyone’s rights.”