CAL FIRE explains how ammunition reacts when a fire burns through a home


REDDING, Calif. - Fire officials say ammunition can cause problems in rural areas when a wildfire reaches a home, however, they say ammunition burning is not as dangerous as some may think.

Darren Stewart, a Fire Specialist with CAL FIRE, said the popping noise people hear when ammunition is burning is not the bullet flying with force.

"It's like an aerosol can going off," he said. "Of course it's a flying hazard but it's nothing that we have to take shelter."

Stewart said when firefighters hear ammunition popping in a home it does change up their attack plan.

"We are safe to assume that there is probably a weapon within that residence," Stewart said. "Our hope there is that there are no loaded guns."

He explains that loaded guns pose a problem because the bullet now has force behind it as it heats up. However, Stewart mentioned the sound of ammunition popping and a loaded gun going off are two very different sounds.

Regardless, in a wildfire they will still try to protect your home.

"We are still going to try to put the fire out," he said.

Stewart added those who get evacuated should try to remember their firearms, if there is time.

"I would highly recommend that they take their guns with them when they do evacuate from a fire. Obviously you don't know how long you are going to be evacuated for. It's a good idea to take your weapons with you or put them in a safe and we do ask that you unload them," he said.

Patrick Jones, with Jones' Fort, agreed that burning ammunition poses little dangers. However Jones noted improper storage of ammunition can be volatile.

He explained ammunition in a metal container can cause an explosion if a fire moves through your home.

"Metal containers are typically not ideal," Jones said. "When a fire comes through and when that ammunition gets super heated to ignite, if it's stored in a steel container, that can create quite an explosion within the steel container."

Jones said the best place to store ammunition is in a cool dry place and in a wood container.

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