In January 2013, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service's Rocky Mountain Research Station and National Technology and Development Centers performed experiments to evaluate the potential for rifle bullets to ignite organic matter after striking hard surfaces. Outdoor target shooting is often suspected as a wildfire cause, but investigators currently do not have adequate scientific data to support this conclusion. The purpose of this study was to determine if ignitions are possible under worst-case circumstances and to identify the physical process by which ignitions can occur.
Maynard, Trevor; Finney, Mark; McAllister, Sara; Grob, Ian. 2013. Ignition potential of rifle bullets. Tech Tips 5100: 1351 1301-SDTDC. San Dimas, CA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Technology and Development Program, Fire Management, San Dimas Technology & Development Center. 4 p.