Utah Reports Record Number of Wildfires Caused by Gunfire


In Northern Utah, the number of wildfires started by guns this year is at an all-time high, reports the Salt Lake Tribune. Of the four largest wildfires started in northern Utah, three have been linked to shooters. Jason Curry, a fire investigator for the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands, said, “This year's been an exceptional year [for gun-related wildfires]. Why that is, we don't know yet.”

It doesn't take much to start a fire with a handgun in the dry season. Research shows that steel striking a rock can easily cause a spark, and more than ever people are turning to cheaper steel-cased bullets. “That spark will be about 1,400 degrees,” said Curry. “The light grasses here can ignite at under 400 degrees.” Northern Utah's largest gun-related fire of the year was contained after four days, but not before it consumed 16,000 acres west of the Great Salt Lake, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars to control.

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