BLM New Mexico issues fire prevention order

SANTA FE, N.M. – The Bureau of Land Management New Mexico State Office has issued a fire prevention order prohibiting the use of exploding targets on BLM-managed lands throughout the state. The order takes effect on Feb. 27, 2020 and expires on Dec. 31, 2020.  

“In New Mexico, fire conditions are present nearly all year-round due to the dry winters, dry vegetation and continued drought,” said State Director Timothy Spisak. “Research shows that exploding targets have a high probability of igniting wildfires when used in in conditions like those present across the state. Our goal is to reduce the likelihood of wildfires and protect the health and safety of the public on BLM-managed public lands.”

Exploding targets are a commercially available binary explosive commonly consisting of ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder. Although both compounds are inert, once mixed together they can be ignited by high-velocity bullets used in target shooting. Once combined they are considered a high explosive by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and cannot be transported per U.S. Dept. of Transportation regulations.

The use of exploding targets is restricted on most Federal lands in the Western U.S. – including all other Federal lands in New Mexico – due to their propensity to start wildfires. Use of exploding targets has been found to have caused multiple wildfires across the West in recent years. This includes the Sawmill Fire, which burned more than 46,000 southeast of Tucson, AZ in 2017.

A violation of this order is subject to punishment by a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment of not more than 12 months or both.  Restitution for total costs of fire suppression or damage will be borne by the violator.  

For more information about this order, please contact Fire Mitigation and Education Specialist Teresa Rigby at 505-954-2256.  For more information about fire restrictions, please visit  You can also follow New Mexico Fire Information at, on Twitter at @nmfireinfo, or on Facebook at

This year, we invite everyone to reimagine your public lands as we celebrate 75 years of the BLM’s stewardship and service to the American people. The BLM manages approximately 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. 

Release Date


Bureau of Land Management


New Mexico State Office


Cathy Garber