Exploding targets are now prohibited in National Forests around Montrose, the Western Slope, and throughout the Rocky Mountain region. The closure order was announced by U.S. Attorney John Walsh, Rocky Mountain Regional Forester Dan Jiron, and U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Region Special Agent in Charge Laura Mark during a press conference about the wildfire danger caused by exploding targets.
Walsh says that exploding targets have been identified as the cause of at least 16 wildfires in the western states, costing taxpayers over $33,000,000 in fire suppression costs. The order applies to all un-permitted explosives, but focuses on exploding targets. The closure order includes all national forests and grasslands in the five-state Rocky Mountain Region, including in Colorado.
Exploding targets can be purchased legally and are intended for use as a target for firearms practice. Exploding targets generally consist of two or more separate chemical components that become an explosive when mixed together. The powder components are kept separate within individual containers for sale and transport. The targets explode when struck by a bullet. When detonated, exploding targets frquently result in a fireball that can trigger a wildland fire.
Under the Order, if caught using an exploding target, the user faces a fine of up to $5,000 and imprisonment of up to 6-months.