The Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) manages Utah’s wildlife management areas (WMA’s). These areas provide the public with land to hunt, fish, and recreate. Typically these WMA’s are open most. However, due to the extreme drought in Utah, the DWR has decided to close all 146 WMA’s to any type of campfire. The campfire ban will stay in place until the Utah DWR determines that fire conditions improve.

On top of the campfire ban, the DWR has also decided to ban target shooting on the WMA’s. The DWR fears that sparks from the target shooting could create a forest fire that may be uncontrollable. The DWR states that the target shooting ban will not affect hunting this fall. Hunters are usually not firing as many shots and are typically not aiming at metal targets or the ground, two places more likely to cause sparks. Last year, two fires burned two separate WMA’s. Both of those fires were later found to have started due to target shooting. Three WMA’s have established shooting ranges, and shooters can still shoot within those ranges. Those WMA’s are Big Hollow Wildlife Management Area (Sanpete County), Fillmore Wildlife Management Area (Millard County) Hobble Creek Wildlife Management Area (Utah County).

Utah has also banned campfires (unless in an approved fire pit) and all fireworks on state-managed land. Utah fire officials are worried that the 2021 fire season could be one of the worst ever. It is unseasonable warm and extremely dry all across the state. As of June 9th, there have already been 330 wildfires in the state. 284 of those fires have already been confirmed to be human-caused.

You can learn more about Wildlife Management Areas by clicking here.

What are your thoughts on the DWR closing WMA’s to campfires and target shooting? Have you used the WMA’S to hunt or fish? Let us know in the comments!

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