Recreational Shooting Sparked Fire Near Banner Grade: Officials

Officials have determined some type of recreational shooting sparked the blaze, which began on Sunday afternoon

Firefighters have fully contained a 1,271-acre wildfire near State Route 78 and the Banner Grade area that sparked as a result of a recreational shooting last weekend, fire officials confirmed.

The blaze – dubbed by officials as the “General Fire” -- began just after noon on Sunday, south of SR-78 and southeast of Julian. Residents near the site of the fire reported seeing and smelling smoke going south on S2.

Multiple agencies assisted in tackling the fire, which was fully contained as of Friday. Officials said the blaze scorched approximately 1,271 acres of terrain in the area.

No homes or structures were ever threatened, as Cal Fire officials said the fire mostly burned east toward the desert.

Earlier this week, fire officials attributed the cause of the blaze to a recreational shooting, though further details were not released. On Sunday, there were reports that officials from the Bureau of Land Management had detained two people near Banner Grade for questioning regarding the fire.

A total of 750 fire personnel, 15 engines, 32 fire crews, three helicopters, one bulldozer and 11 water tenders were used to tackle the General Fire. Fire officials said five firefighters sustained injuries.

Windy conditions played a factor in the spreading of the blaze.

On Sunday, the National Weather Service in San Diego issued a wind advisory in the area. Another wind advisory went into effect Monday afternoon for San Diego County deserts, which remained in effect through 3 a.m. Wednesday morning.

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