Three men have been charged with starting a fire by using exploding targets and starting the Spotted Tail fire that burned 83 acres south of Chadron, Nebraska October 23. According to Cyd Janssen, spokesperson for the U.S. Forest Service, the men were shooting at targets that explode when the fire started. They are being charged with using prohibited explosives on Forest Service land in violation of the Stage II restrictions, starting a fire without extinguishing it, and leaving a fire without reporting it. The men will be tried in federal court and each will face up to $5,000 in fines and six months in jail. The USFS will seek restitution for the suppression costs of the fire.
Exploding targets have become increasingly popular this year, in spite of the fact that the use of them frequently starts wildland fires. Also known as binary explosive targets, they are inert until two powders are mixed together, forming a compound that is classified an explosive by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
As we have written before, it is ridiculous that these incendiary devices that have been demonstrated to be extremely dangerous in the hands of the average shooter, are legal. They should not only be illegal to transport after the two chemicals have been mixed, as is the case now, the kits to assemble them should not be legal to sell or possess.