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Fire In Foothills Near Banning Under Investigation

Fire officicals say a small brush fire in the foothills south of Banning may have been started by someone who was target shooting.

The fire started just after noon on Thursday near Old Idyllwild Road.

Fire officials say it burned six to eight acres in a canyon that is often used for illegal shooting.

“This is a fire closure area. The public is not supposed to be up here shooting. Especially on a hot, dry, windy day,” said Calfire Battalion Chief Andrew Bennett.

One witness said he was collecting scrap metal in the canyon while a couple of people were target shooting nearby.

“There were two guys target shooting up there. There were some big boulders up there and they had some targets set up. Something must have ricocheted off those boulders or something,” said Roy Kielhorn. “Next thing I know, they both stopped and they were running, getting on their cell phones trying to call in the fire.”

Fire officials say illegal shooting carries a felony charge with possible jail time.

No word on any suspects.

One firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion.

KESQ News Team

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