Investigation determines target shooting as cause of Quail Fire

Cal FIRE investigators released the cause of the June 2020 Quail Fire.
Vacaville Fire Crew works on hot spots during the Quail Fire. Photo By Jeff Rawlinson Winters Express

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Investigators have determined that the cause of the June 2020 Quail Fire was target shooting.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s investigators, who were dispatched as part of the initial response to the Quail Fire, uncovered evidence that target shooting sparked the fire to life on June 06, according to a Cal FIRE media release on Monday.

The Quail Fire burned 1,837 acres over a period of four day before it was fully contained. Its blaze destroyed one home and two other structures. Numerous fire crews from across the state worked together to contain the vegetation fire that burned southwest of Winters. The Cal FIRE Sonoma-Lake-Napa unit reported that at most, 600 fire personnel were assigned to the incident.

The vegetation fire started at at 3:30 p.m. on June 6 along Quail Canyon Road. High winds pushed it quickly toward Pleasants Valley Road and Highway 128 causing residents to evacuate and multiple road closures in the area.

Cal FIRE shared the following tips and preventative steps to take when target shooting to prevent wildfire:

  • Place your 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 the nearby vegetation.
  • Ammunition type matters, as 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 on hand, in case a fire does start.
  • Report all fires immediately: Call 9-1-1.

Learn more about target shooting safety and how to prevent wildfires online at

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