The U.S. Forest service has effectively banned the use of exploding targets in the northern region. Exploding targets are designed to burst into a smokey display when hit by a bullet, but Forest service spokesman Phil Sammon says that the targets can be dangerous.

The regional forester issued what we call a 'closure order' for explosive targets in the northern region. That's on National Forest System lands and on Dakota Prairie Grass Lands over in North Dakota. The primary reason behind this is a safety factor both for recreational visitors to the national public lands here and also the threat of wildfires is a very real possibility from these explosive targets."

The ban on exploding targets extends to many forests in Montana.

"It applies to all of the National Forests in Western Montana," Sammon said. "Anyplace on the Lolo National Forest, the Bitterroot, Beaverhead-Deerlodge, the Flathead, the Kootenai, anywhere over on the Lewis and Clark or Helena National Forest, as well as the Custer and Gallatin National Forests.

U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said that in 2013 alone, at least 16 wildfires on national forest land were caused by exploding targets. Disregarding the ban can result in a fine up to $5,000 and a prison sentence of up to six months.

Phil Sammon: