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Sharps Fire

A Sawtooth hotshot surveys fire activity on a ridge overlooking the Sharps Fire.

BOISE — A bill to block some use of exploding targets on state land is headed to the Senate floor.

Senate Bill 1178 from Sen. Michelle Stennett, D-Ketchum, would make state code consistent with federal land laws by prohibiting exploding targets on state-owned public lands during the designated fire season, which stretches from May to November.

The bill passed through the Senate State Affairs Committee on Friday and will now be considered by the full Senate.

“Every time there is a large fire, we spend millions of dollars in taxpayer money,” Stennett said in a statement. “We are not trying to ban exploding targets, but we need to be more responsible when using them.”

There were eight fires caused by exploding targets in southern Idaho last year, including the Sharps Fire, which burned more than 64,000 acres near Bellevue last summer.

Stennett’s bill would make use of an exploding target on state lands a misdemeanor, aligning with federal law.

Blaine County Sheriff Steve Harkins previously told the Times-News he was in favor of banning the use of exploding targets on all public lands.

“I believe this is a step in the right direction,” Harkins said of the legislation.

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