News Release from Oregon Dept. of Forestry – Posted on FlashAlert: August 28th, 2015 1:32 PM

Video statement from Mike Cafferata, ODF Forest Grove District Forester:;

“In the Forest Grove Area we have had eight fires this year confirmed to have been started by recreational target shooting. These fires prompted evacuations, burned 74 acres of the Tillamook State Forest and other forestland, and cost $500,000 in suppression costs,” said Mike Cafferata, Oregon Department of Forestry District Forester in Forest Grove.

The fires ignited when bullets struck the backstops of targets, not by common causes such as cigarettes or campfires that sometimes accompany recreational shooting. Hot fragments of metal jacketing that land in dry grasses or other flammable material can ignite the fuel. The most recent fire was caused by a homeowner shooting at his personal range. He saw the flames start through his scope, and was prepared with two fire extinguishers on hand, but could not get to the fire start soon enough to extinguish the flames. Before Oregon Department of Forestry and Hillsboro Fire Department trucks arrived, the fire required evacuations.

“This year the forest is as dry as it has ever been. Fires that do start are much harder to control, and the many fires statewide have drawn resources away from our local area,” said Cafferata.

“We urge everyone to recognize the risk of recreational shooting under the current conditions and be vigilant about prevention and risk. Don’t shoot on hot, dry days. Always shoot into a non-flammable backstop. Be sure it is clear of flammable debris for 20 feet on all sides, and always have a fire extinguisher and shovel available while checking the backstop for signs of fire before leaving. It’s critical that we all do our part to prevent the next human-caused fire,” he said.

Other resources:
* State of Oregon wildfire site
* Oregon Department of Forestry fire blog
* Oregon Department of Forestry wildfire resources
* Keep Oregon Green
* Oregon Department of Forestry social media