BLM New Mexico restricts exploding targets

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 March 10, 2021 and expires on Dec. 31, 2021.  

Exploding targets are commercially available binary explosives commonly consisting of ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder. Although both compounds are inert, once mixed, 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 acres 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. Anyone violating this order will be liable to the United States for damages through either an administrative process or in United States Federal Court.

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

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