After Gate Fire, recreational shooting ban hits public lands

Posted at 1:52 PM, May 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-27 16:53:23-04

(KGTV) - A week removed from a brush fire that charred more than 2,000 acres just south of Jamul, fire restrictions have been put in place to curb the risk of brush fires.

As hot and dry weather conditions hit the area, the Bureau of Land Management Friday initiated Stage III Fire Restrictions for BLM-managed public land within San Diego, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Imperial, Inyo, and Kern Counties.

A restriction on recreational target shooting on public land managed by the El Centro and Palm Springs-South Coast Field Offices within western Riverside and San Diego Counties was issued as well, which applies to about 4 million acres of land.

"Despite heavy winter rains, restrictions are needed due to current hot and dry weather conditions and an abundance of dry grass that could be easily ignited," California Desert District Manager Beth Ransel said.


Restrictions prohibit setting, building, maintaining, attending, or using open fire of any kind in the designated areas. They also ban possession or use of all fireworks, including "safe and sane" devices, floating sky lanterns, fire balloons or acetylene balloons.

Controlled flame devices, like portable stoves that use petroleum or liquid petroleum, are allowed by permit. Smoking is permitted within enclosed vehicles or camp trailers.

The fire restrictions will remain in effect until further notice. The ban on recreation shooting lasts until the end of fire season.


The Gate Fire is currently under criminal investigation after footage surfaced showing the May 20 fire may be connected to target shooters.

Wednesday, San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob asked the U.S. Department of Interior to ban recreational shooting on federal land as a result of the Gate Fire.

Jacob's letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke noted that Bureau of Land Management failed to act on her previous requests to prohibit year-round shooting near the East County property.

BLM reminded all those who plan to spend time outdoors this season to:

  • Clear a five-foot circle around your campfire
  • Have a shovel and plenty of water on hand and put the fire dead out before leaving
  • Put out cigarettes or cigars when finished and disposed of properly 
  • Park motor vehicles away from locations where exhaust could cause grass or other combustibles to ignite

Timelapse of East County's Gate Fire: