ST. GEORGE —Due to recent rain storms decreasing the wildfire risk for several areas of Utah, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has removed its temporary ban on campfires and recreational target shooting with a firearm on most of its wildlife management areas.
Campfires and target shooting will again be allowed on wildlife management areas, except for those in areas still under Forestry, Fire and State Lands restrictions, according to a press release issued Tuesday by the DWR. Statewide fire restriction information and wildfire prevention tips can be found online.
The temporary ban was implemented June 9 in an effort to reduce the risk of wildfires on Utah’s 146 wildlife management areas. These state-owned properties help minimize and mitigate wildlife depredation on private property and are vital to providing important winter ranges and feeding grounds for many wildlife species, including big game, the release states.
“We appreciate the public’s cooperation and adherence to these restrictions during the extreme drought this year,” DWR Habitat Section Chief Eric Edgley said in the release. “The temporary restrictions really helped avoid any catastrophic wildfires on these crucial habitat areas. Last year, two large wildfires on WMAs burned several hundred acres of wildlife habitat and were started by target shooting with firearms. We greatly appreciate everyone’s help in protecting these wildlife lands during such a dry, hot summer.”
Wildlife and waterfowl management areas are purchased and managed using the money generated by fishing and hunting license sales. Along with decreasing wildlife-caused damage on private property and providing important summer and winter ranges for many wildlife species, they also provide places where Utahns can go to hunt and fish.
While the ban on campfires and target shooting with firearms has been lifted in many of these areas, the DWR continues to encourage Utahns to do their part in preventing wildfires, particularly during continuing drought conditions.
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