Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 20, 2018

Grass fire put out at shooting range

By David Hotle | Aug 11, 2017



Mother Nature gave a helping hand to the Washington Fire Department Thursday afternoon as a strong rainstorm moving through the area assisted in the extinguishing of a grass fire that broke out at Clemons Creek Shooting Range.

Washington County Conservation director Steve Anderson reported today that there was no damage to the range as a result of the fire, no one was injured in the fire, and that the range still is open for use. He also said the backings and the new shelter on the pistol range hadn’t been damaged in the fire. He said there still is a little bit of smoldering from the fire and that some of the mulch surrounding the target areas had been burned.

“We actually burn the grass on purpose every year, but getting the fire into the mulch was less than desirable,” Anderson said. “For one thing it is difficult to put out.”

Anderson said conservation workers are removing the smoldering mulch today to keep the fire from reigniting over the weekend. He reported very dry conditions both Thursday and today at the range.

The fire department reported the fire started in the grass at the range. Washington Fire Chief Tom Wide said the cause of the fire hasn’t been determined. He said the fire had been burning for a while before it was called in and that much of the dead and dry vegetation had been burned.

About half an hour after the fire department arrived, heavy rains began in the area. Anderson said the fire crews were happy that the rains came when they did.

“They told me the rain put more water on the fire than they ever could,” he said.

Wide also said the rain had aided the effort. While the fire was under control by that time, he said the rains helped to extinguish the mulch piles.

There were also reports of loose ammunition in the grass that was being ignited by the fire. Anderson said this is common when the grass is burned off. He said while the ammunition would have nowhere near the power it would if fired from a gun, it can still be dangerous.

“People have ammunition that doesn’t fire and they just throw it out into the grass,” Anderson said. “When a fire starts, away it goes.”

Wide said the detonating ammunition had caused a bit of a problem, but not a serious problem in the effort to extinguish the fire.

Anderson said the fire had spread slightly into the woods surrounding the range, but had not traveled far.

“The woods won’t burn,” Anderson said. “It is really dry, but this is the time of year when everything that can be growing is. The woods didn’t burn much.”

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