San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob called for a shooting ban on federal land Wednesday in the area where the May 20 Gate Fire was sparked by gunfire, spreading flames over more than 2,000 acres.
"The issue has taken on even greater urgency following a major wildfire this past weekend," wrote Jacob to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
Jacob asked the U.S. Department of Interior to ban recreational shooting in and around the Donohoe Mountain, near the community of Dulzura, according to a representative for the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.
The representative says the Gate Fire sparked in a backcountry area by gunfire where target shooting practice is popular.
However, the Bureau of Land Management and Cal Fire are still handling a criminal investigation to determine the exact cause of the Gate Fire.
Cal Fire PIO Isaac Sanchez told NBC 7 the investigation is not conclusive yet.
It is not known whether an illegal weapon was used or if it was started by some other cause. An instagram video was submitted as potential evidence.
"Over the past several years, many concerned residents from Dulzura have reported serious public safety issues and fire hazards associated with a large increase in shooting," wrote Jacob to Douglas Herrema, the Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office Manager.
Multiple crews responded to the fire including 850 fire personnel, 84 engines, seven air tankers and other resources, over the course of several days, said the representative.
Jacob's previous requests to the Bureau of Land Management officials to prohibit year-round shooting on the property near Dulzura were not acted on, said the representative. That was despite a high risk of wildfires in the area.
Residents near Dulzura have been concerned about shooting practice in the Donohoe Mountain area for a long time, according to the representative.
They have complained about bullets traveling close to houses and excessive trash being left out by shooters, Jacob wrote in a letter to the California Desert District Manager Beth Ransel.
Cal Fire PIO Sanchez said the investigation into the fire's cause is ongoing.