AZ fire officials warn shooters about dangers of explosive targets

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Oscar Lopez and his son don't take any chances when they're out shooting in the desert.

"You have to be very careful out here," said the Phoenix dad. "You never know where a bullet will end up."

But not everyone follows all the rules when it comes to target practice.

Arizona's Bureau of Land Management has just issued a warning to all gun owners about the risk of using explosive targets, also called tannerite.   

The explosive targets are perfectly legal and can be bought online, but they also have the potential to start a wildfire.

[RELATED: Off-duty Border Patrol agent may have started Arizona fire]

"People need to read the signs before they come in, because they are always posted," said gun owner Connie Lawrence.

The targets are often used in small quantities by long range shooters who want to see a puff of smoke when they strike their target.

However, they are not allowed to be used on public lands.

Tom Mangan with the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said the targets may look harmless, but can do a lot of damage.

"Tannerite, when used by shooters creates an explosion," said Mangan. "When there's an explosion, heat is produced and a thermal effect occurs. There is a good likelihood that you are going to have a fire."

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Jason Barry
Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

Click to learn more about Jason.

Jason Barry

Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

He is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports, which highlight local restaurants with major health code violations.

Jason was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Miami.

An avid sports fan, Jason follows the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns with his wife, Karen, and son, Joshua.

His favorite stories to cover are the station’s Pay it Forward segments, which reward members of the community with $500 for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help others.

Jason, started his career at WBTW-TV in Florence, SC before moving to WALA-TV in Mobile, AL, was named the Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2002.

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