SALT LAKE CITY – Drought and wildfire conditions are causing the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources to temporarily ban all campfires and firearm target shooting on their lands.
This is not a ban on all lands owned by the state of Utah. Division Spokesperson Faith Heaton Jolley said there are still plenty of established campsites and shooting ranges on state land. She said they’re referring to the 146 wildlife management areas across Utah, which are set aside for animals and grazing.
Heaton Jolley said, “They do provide, basically, the wintering grounds for a lot of our wildlife species, like our dear, our elk herds and our moose. This is where they rely on coming during the winter to feed.”
Heaton Jolley said these areas are incredibly dry and ready to burn. A single ember from a fire or a spark from a rock could destroy these grazing areas for years.
“They’re not campgrounds. They’re not established shooting ranges. They are for wildlife,” she said.
This ban doesn’t affect people who are legally hunting. Plus, there are three established shooting ranges in three of their WMAs, namely Big Hollow, Fillmore and Hobble Creek. Heaton Jolley said they enacted similar bans last year, but they did so too late.
She said, “Last year, we did implement some of these same types of bans on campfires and target shooting after we had two really big fires on these wildlife management areas that were from target shooting.”
When will this ban be lifted? That’s hard to say.
“We’ll reevaluate, based on those conditions, if we still need to have this temporary ban in place or if we can lift it,” according to Heaton Jolley.
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