Cal Fire reports target shooting as cause of Quail Fire in June

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VACAVILLE — A wildfire that burned 2.87 square miles of brush, forced evacuations and destroyed a home in rural Vacaville was started by target shooting in the area.

That’s the finding of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s investigation into the Quail Fire, which started June 6 and burned for four days before being contained.

Cal Fire released its findings Monday.

The Quail Fire forced area residents out of their homes and destroyed three structures — including one home.

The vegetation fire started at 3:30 p.m. June 6 along Quail Canyon Road near Pleasants Valley Road, north of Vacaville and southwest of Winters.

Evacuations occurred along Quail Canyon Road from Pleasants Valley Road to Highway 128 along the Solano County-Napa County line, but were lifted the next day.

The residents of the one home that was lost were still packing up when the fire reached their back porch. A commercial building, which may have been used as a residence, also was lost.

A number of area roads were closed during the early stages of the fire, which Cal Fire reports at its peak involved 600 personnel — including eight hand crews — 30 engines, nine bulldozers, air drops and later, five water tenders.

The hot, windy conditions added to the challenge of controlling the fire. The National Weather Service issued a fire danger warning that was in effect from 11 p.m. June 7 to 8 p.m. June 8 as firefighters from across the region worked to contain the fire’s spread.

Among the Solano departments that sent firefighters and other resources were the Vacaville city and rural agencies, Fairfield, the Suisun City city and rural departments, Dixon, Cordelia, Montezuma and Vallejo, as well as Winters and Madison from Yolo County and strike teams from San Francisco, Contra Costa and Marin counties.

Cal Fire offered several tips to help make target shooting safer during fire season:

• Place targets on dirt or gravel and shoot in areas free of dry vegetation. Avoid shooting on hot, windy days. Bullet fragments can be extremely hot and can easily start a fire.

• Use safe targets like paper targets or clay pigeons. Shooting at steel targets or rocks may throw sparks into nearby vegetation.

• Ammunition type matters. Steel core and solid copper ammunition have the highest potential to start fires. Lead core ammunition is less likely to ignite surrounding vegetation.

• Keep a shovel, fire extinguisher and extra water handy — in case a fire does start.

• Reports all fires immediately by calling 9-1-1.

— By the staff of the Daily Republic. Glen Faison and Todd R. Hansen contributed to this report.

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