A sign was pocked with bullet holes after the site was closed

A closure of three shooting sites on Redington Pass east of Tucson has been extended until next fall to allow more time for cleanup of shooting debris — including soil containing potentially dangerous concentrations of lead.

The sites, between mile markers 5 and 7 on the Redington Road, were closed by the Coronado National Forest in January 2013 to allow forest officers and contractors to begin removing shooting debris and conduct a risk assessment of the area.

“The closure extension is needed to allow proper analysis and cleanup of the recreational target shooting areas, and to assure the protection of public health and safety by prohibiting the recreational discharge of firearms,” said forest spokeswoman Heidi Schewel in a news release.

The closure was extended until next Sept. 30 or until rescinded, whichever is earlier.

Prohibited activities include parking a vehicle in the area and discharging a firearm, air rifle, paint ball gun, gas gun or archery equipment.

The risk assessment “determined lead concentrations in the soil posed an unacceptable risk to the recreational user and the environment,” the release said. “After further evaluation and consideration, the Forest Service has begun an environmental cleanup to remove the soil containing lead concentrations. The soil is being hauled away and disposed of at an approved licensed waste management facility.”

Forest officials and others have begun work to develop a Redington Pass Collaborative Management Plan to guide management of the area for hiking, mountain biking, camping, hunting, grazing, recreational shooting and other uses. A proposal for a managed shooting range in the area is also under consideration.

Contact reporter Doug Kreutz at dkreutz@tucson.com or at 573-4192. On Twitter: @DouglasKreutz