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Response to quadrature (Reply #9)

Fri Dec 26, 2014, 11:50 AM

40. Until a steel bullet sparks on a rock and starts a forest fire

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/politics/56626213-90/steel-fire-utah-blm.html.csp

At the end of last year year's dry spring, two men fired an AK-74 assault rifle and a 9 mm handgun at wood and steel targets they set up in Burnt Canyon off Utah Lake's west shore. It was a hot windy day and the grasses were dried out, although it was still May.

The rifle's steel-jacketed 5.54x39 mm ammunition likely triggered a fire that burned more than 1,600 acres and cost $33,000 to knock down, according to Jason Curry, a fire investigator with the Utah Division of Forestry.

For years, investigators have suspected ricocheting bullet fragments ignite fires, after an impact with a hard surface converts the round's kinetic energy into searing heat. But there was little scientific basis for understanding how until now. Research forester Mark Finney decided to develop the science after gunfire was implicated in numerous Utah fires last year.

A member of the U.S. Forest Service's Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory, Finney assembled a team that demonstrated copper and steel ammunition reliably ignite fine, dried fuels.

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