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What do clubs do about restricting black powder during high fire conditions? Our range is adjacent to National Forest and I'd hate to have a problem. We do have 2 4 gallon sprayers we keep handy just in case, but was wondering what others do.  

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We watch for folks who have fiber wads in loads and keep water available.   Bays are kept clear of any dry vegetation.  Other than a few flaming wads, it's not any different than smokeless powder shooting.

 

good luck, GJ

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I've had flaming plastic wads when shooting BP and subs.  The fire hazard is not just limited to fiber wads.  I've also seen a fire start from a spark off a steel target.  The ground around the target had not been cleared.  I'd supplement the sprayers with shovels.  Loose dirt piled on burning vegetation can help snuff a fire.

 

At a range where I am an officer we operate on leased state land.  We follow statewide fire restrictions faithfully knowing a wildland fire started on our range would result in termination of our lease.  We keep the front gate locked knowing some bubbas would enter and shoot even if the range was closed to shooting.

Edited by Edward R S Canby, SASS#59971
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Nothing … 11 berms are separated by concrete walls and back berms are not near any trees or high vegetation 

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No firing allowed on Total Fire Ban days at our club in New South Wales, Australia.

 

That's smokeless or BP.

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I shoot black powder for almost every match.  In my experience, black powder has a MUCH higher risk for starting a vegitation fire then smokeless in dry conditions.

 

During times in my region of extreme low humidity, high temperatures and high winds (RED FLAG warnings) I do not shoot black powder. 

 

Also, in those extreme dry conditions, as a CAS match director, I do not allow any black powder to be shot at the match due to local range policies.

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Years ago we had 5 gallon buckets filled with water and a mop to use as a flail to oust fires at HOW. They did use one on a hay bail that caught fire.

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never had this come up at a SASS match but we did have a bit of an issue with some surplus shooters using tracers on the rifle range - got it out , there is a lake/pond on the side of the range and we use buckets to collect brass 

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I remember the time we had to shoot a dummy on a stage. Rye Miles set the dummy on fire back when he shot the holy black.

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For high risk fire conditions, you would probably be best to temporarily ban any black powder/substitute shooting. It won't be popular, but that is the safest way.

 

Other than a temporary ban, you should have 2 of those 4 gallon sprayers on EACH stage. The 5 gallon buckets with mop that Assassin suggested is a good idea also.

If there was any way to set up a hose with sprayer, that would be good also.

 

Thing is that in dry conditions, the grass/underbrush is great kindling, It lights easily and the fire spreads rapidly in all directions and even a moderate breeze makes it much worse. If a fire starts, fire extinguishing must start at once, with no hesitation or looking around for the materials to do it with. Everyone must know where the items are and what to do with them. The fire could become unmanageable within 30 seconds without immediate action. Once it gains a 10' spread, you are pretty much screwed.

 

If you have to ask yourself "Boy, the conditions sure are ripe for a spark to cause a fire, I wonder if we should have a match?"..... Don't. It won't be well accepted and you won't get any attaboys. You also won't be getting a lawsuit for millions of dollars either.

 

Edit, one other thing. If your stages are separated by berms on the side and rear, the fire is going to want to climb the berms and it will do it quick. There may not be time to warn the shooters on the other side of the berm that you are going to be climbing the berm to fight the fire. Keep an airhorn nest to the fire fighting equipment and activate it if a fire starts. It would be advisable to inform all shooters of the clubs intentions at the beginning of the match during the shooters meeting.

Edited by Cypress Sun
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We've not had that problem up here.

At our main range at Eastern Ontario Shooting Club, all the shooting bays have sand floors.

The other big civilian range at the west end of the city, The Stittsville Range and gun shop has similar sand floors in all the bays.

One of the advantages of living on an ancient sea bed!

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APP, Black MZ, or shooters World Black is no more likely to start a fire than smokeless. Triple 7 does cause some flame from short barrel pistols.

 

The biggest danger is from the coarser grades of real BP. Skirmish, 1.5F and Cannon grades create the biggest embers. 

Edited by Sedalia Dave
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