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New Mexico BLM prohibits exploding targets

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The New Mexico state office of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has issued a fire prevention order prohibiting the use of exploding targets on BLM-managed lands throughout the state.

The order took effect Thursday and expires on Dec. 31.

“In New Mexico, fire conditions are present nearly all year-round due to the dry winters, dry vegetation and continued drought,” said State Director Timothy Spisak. “Research shows that exploding targets have a high probability of igniting wildfires when used in in conditions like those present across the state. Our goal is to reduce the likelihood of wildfires and protect the health and safety of the public on BLM-managed public lands.”

Exploding targets are a commercially available binary explosive commonly consisting of ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder. Although both compounds are inert, once mixed together they can be ignited by high-velocity bullets used in target shooting. Once combined they are considered a high explosive by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and cannot be transported per U.S. Department of Transportation regulations.

The use of exploding targets is restricted on most federal lands in the western U.S., including all other federal lands in New Mexico. Use of exploding targets has been found to have caused multiple wildfires across the West in recent years, including the Sawmill Fire, which burned more than 46,000 acres southeast of Tucson, Arizona, in 2017.

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A violation of this order is subject to punishment by a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment of not more than 12 months or both. Restitution for total costs of fire suppression or damage will be borne by the violator.

For more information about this order, please contact Fire Mitigation and Education Specialist Teresa Rigby at 505-954-2256.

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