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Thread: Training Equipment Fire Danger

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    Senior Member afdahl's Avatar
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    Default Training Equipment Fire Danger

    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.

    Amy Dahl

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    Thank You for sharing Amy. I wondered about that myself. We have been having severe drought in Montana and the summers the grass is as dry as can be. The past couple years during the heat of the summer, I've been placing my 'shooting mechanisms' on dirt. I've thought about carrying some cardboard or something else out there to set them.

    Were you able to figure out how far away from the mechanism the fire started or did it start directly below it? The other thing I thought about was watering down the area I set mechanisms on, but can only carry so much stuff with me

    Kris
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    Hi Amy, I'm guessing that putting 209 primers in a pill bottle they will bang into each other and ignite is that what your saying because I never heard that and have been doing this forever. Thanks for the heads up. I imagine if one goes the hole bottle goes ? That could be a big bang. Thanks again! Ed

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    Senior Member jeff t.'s Avatar
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    Amy,

    The same thing happened at another NC field trialer's grounds. I believe several acres were burned in the process. If the launcher sits on the ground and uses gunpowder loads to launch, it is capable of starting a fire.
    Jeff Telander
    Durham, NC

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    I noticed a big black melted out hole in my snow after training the other day! We always try to be very careful much past May out here when non-irrigated lands begin to dry. My field fortunately is quite green.

    Never thought about the primers in the pill bottle.... ooops. Anne

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    Same result with bumper boys also. I burnt about 4 acres last winter. I now use old car mats under the units when training on dormant grass.

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    Senior Member afdahl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kris Hunt View Post
    Were you able to figure out how far away from the mechanism the fire started or did it start directly below it? The other thing I thought about was watering down the area I set mechanisms on, but can only carry so much stuff with me
    Kris
    As far as I can tell, the fire started right under the equipment. The good thing about a grassfire in short grass is that it can sweep past items of equipment without doing them much damage--even electronics.

    We tried watering the area we set equipment on, but (without testing to see how hard it was to start a fire) felt that the water mostly sank into the ground while the dry wind dried the surface of the grass rapidly. We tried setting stuff on mats. Unfortunately the action/reaction of shooting a retrievable object tends to make things skid on their mats. Doormats are probably the most skid-resistant.

    For the most part, we watch the weather forecast, which is usually accompanied by a statement of the fire danger level. If it is high, we place equipment only on bare ground or green, cold-season plants, or limit ourselves to blinds and hand throws.

    Amy Dahl

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    Senior Member afdahl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meat hunter View Post
    Hi Amy, I'm guessing that putting 209 primers in a pill bottle they will bang into each other and ignite is that what your saying because I never heard that and have been doing this forever. Thanks for the heads up. I imagine if one goes the hole bottle goes ? That could be a big bang. Thanks again! Ed
    For once I did not learn this the hard way...and I'm glad of it. If you think about what primers do, you'd agree that a jolt to a pill bottle full could be a bad thing. The person who pointed this out to us used the phrase, "take your arm off."

    Companies don't spend extra on packaging with individual compartments just to annoy the purchaser....

    Amy Dahl

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    Senior Member lablover's Avatar
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    I guess I'm lucky then. In the 6 or 7 years I've been using BB's and carry 209 primers and blanks in pill bottles, I've never had a problem.
    <--- Dooey, MH
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    It sounds like this was a winger. I never thought about a Winger starting fire until now. I know someone that started a fire using an orginal Max 5000. They also had to call the local fire department.

    I have thought about primers in a bottle being dangerous. I don't know anyone that has had a problem but I know I don't throw them around and I use a soft flexible bottle.

    Thanks for the post.

    Tony
    Tony Allen

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