Johnson said the test presented a "worst-case scenario" for noise impact. Noise mitigation efforts at the range could include limited hours of operation, prohibiting exploding targets or cannons, limiting the size and caliber of weapons, and using dirt berms and trees to deflect and diffuse noise.
Lewis Adams, a competitive shooter, said he must shoot at least weekly to maintain his skills, which is difficult because of limited hours at the Lee Kay range. Adams said he supports the proposal and believes careful range management and construction would resolve most concerns expressed at Thursday's meeting.
"I think it would benefit the city. We need it," he said, offering to volunteer at the range and drawing a round of applause.
Johnson explained that wildfires were caused by high-grade weapons being shot in unimproved areas or areas that had not been cleared of vegetation. Shooting into a dirt backstop in a prepared area would prevent fires, he said.
Battalion Chief Clint Smith of the Unified Fire Authority was on hand to back up Johnson's explanation of fire risks.
Smith reported 28 fires burned the Lake Mountain Area in 2012, nine of which were caused by target shooting in unimproved areas where dry brush and plants can catch a spark.
Smith used the Dump Fire, which was caused by shooting explosive targets in an unimproved area, as an example. The Dump Fire burned 5,507 acres and cost $2.1 million to extinguish, he said.
Four improved shooting ranges along the Wasatch Front confirmed they had not experienced any fires being caused on their land, Smith said.
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