DENVER -- A wildfire that's burned 2,400 acres and forced hundreds to evacuate in Basalt is blamed on two people shooting tracer rounds at a gun range Tuesday.
Sixteen first responder agencies were on scene Wednesday trying to contain the Lake Christine Fire. It has forced the evacuation of at least 500 homes. No homes have been lost and no injuries have been reported.
It all began, according to the Eagle County sheriffs office with what is called a tracer round. “It’s a bullet that has an incendiary product in the base." Mike Jones, of Bass Pro Shops in Denver explained.
Tracer bullets are not new. They were used as a training aid for World War II troops. Today, they are mostly used as a targeting aid for fully automatic battle rifles.
So, what are the civilian applications? “There is none, wow factor only,” Jones said.
Jones knows tracer rounds can light up more than just the night, “I turned around to put my rifle down, and my son who was 15 or 16 at the time said, 'hey dad, there’s a fire.'"
Jones quickly put out the fire, and lesson learned, “It really did scare me that it could happen a lot quicker than what you can anticipate."
Tracer ammo is legal in Colorado. It's great for the military, but not so good in hot, dry conditions in the mountains.
The two people accused of starting the fire face 4th degree arson charges.