Investigators determine exploding targets caused 7,300-acre Goat Fire

U.S. Forest Service investigators have determined that target shooters using exploding targets caused the Goat Fire which burned 7,378 acres three miles southwest of Pateros, Washington (map) in September. Investigators had previously said that two other fires in the state may have been started by exploding targets — a 120-acre blaze in Mud Creek Entiat and another on Deadman Hill near Cashmere.

Here is an excerpt from the Wenatchee World:

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is reviewing the U.S. Forest Service investigation into the Goat Fire near Pateros, said Forest Service spokesman Tom Knappenberger.

He said criminal charges could be filed later.

Anyone convicted of igniting the blaze could also be required to pay for suppression costs and other damages.

The Goat Fire burned mostly on Forest Service land, but also charred some private property and Bureau of Land Management land.

Emergency service towers, cellular phone towers, local television broadcast equipment, and buried power lines were threatened in the fire that burned from Sept. 15 until Nov. 9.

These devices have become more popular in the last year. When we wrote about this dangerous trend last October, with a quick Google search we found 22 fires during a 5-month period that were started by the use of exploding targets.

Goat Fire
Goat Fire. Photo by Kurt Ranta.


Thanks go out to Carl

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.