With another super-dry windy day, and wildfires already burning in the drought-affected Southeast, this might be a good time to tell you what happened to us while training a few weeks ago.
I agonized over this and finally realized I don't have to name the item of training equipment, just that it uses a "blank," and probably any other piece of equipment using a blank could have the same effect. The device in question shot the last mark down, and the first running dog picked it up, delivered, and John sent her for the first memory bird when I smelled smoke. It was a "red flag" day with extreme low humidity and high wind, and I anxiously looked around for the source. Smoke was coming up from around the device that shot the last mark.
Long story short, it took the fire department to put it out even though we had a fire extinguisher, a tank full of water on the dog truck, and the grass was only about 1 1/2" tall. (I found pouring water on a grassfire does no good at all--it only works if sprayed under pressure.)
On the device in question, the blanks fire down into an area that is enclosed below and on the sides with metal. To ignite the grass, a spark had to shoot down into that enclosed area and then up and out. Looking at the construction, I never would have thought it possible for the thing to start a fire. Afterward I showed it to a customer who is in the Army and has experience with such things, and he said it's easy for him to believe.
The bottom line: a field fire is really, really easy to start when conditions are "right." Any piece of training equipment that ignites anything, even the tiniest blank, can potentially start a fire--and a fire can spread rapidly even in very short grass.
EVERYBODY PLEASE BE CAREFUL!
Oh yeah, and don't take your .209 primers out of the packaging and put them in a pill bottle.