Patrols on the Air Force gunnery range in the West Desert have been increased with the return of warm weather, officials at Hill Air Force Base said.

The problem of intruders ignoring warning signs and crossing onto the Utah Test and Training Range increases during the warmer summer months, base officials said. With the popularity of off-road vehicles and ATVs in recent years, the problem has gotten worse.

"The public is requested, for safety reasons, to heed warning signs and thereby eliminate the possibility of having a recreational outing become a tragic experience," base officials said.

Although the training range is used by aircraft from other bases in the country and even other branches of the service, Hill is charged with its maintenance and security.

Several off-road vehicle operators were seen recently riding their vehicles beyond the "No Trespassing" signs near the Kittycat and Wildcat mountains south of Knolls, base officials said.

Although the area is attractive for that kind of activity, it is also extremely dangerous because it contains large amounts of unexploded munitions.

Persons wandering into the area are cautioned by the Air Force not to handle any unfamiliar objects as they may be highly explosive and could cause serious injury or death.

Besides the risk of injury or death, trespassers on the range face another hazard: legal action. Citations will be issued to trespassers, base officials said.