The incendiary ammunition that allegedly sparked the Sunflower Fire is banned at all times from forest lands, the Forest Service said in an email.
The email read:
It is prohibited to use tracer bullets and incendiary ammo on National Forest System lands- PROHIBITED AT ALL TIMES ON ALL NATIONAL FORESTS. This prohibition is under the Code of Federal Regulations (CFRS), so it governs ALL National Forest System lands (including the Pacific and Puerto Rico).
According to the Forest Service, gunfire ignited seven fires in Arizona in 2010, ten fires in 2011 and five so far in 2012, including the Sunflower Fire.
The forest was not under fire restrictions on May 12, when the fire was started. Those restrictions were set to go in place on May 15.
The Sunflower Fire has burned 17,500 acres to date and has cost about $6 million to fight. It is still 80 percent contained.
Persons who start a wildfire can be held liable -- both legally and financially -- if the U.S. Attorney's Office chooses to pursue that route.