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Best practices for shooting in hot weather

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REDDING, Calif. - Investigators recently determined that the 81,000 acre fire in Mariposa County was caused by gunfire.

The staff at Nice Shot Guns and Shooting Range in Redding said sparks from ammunition are how these types of wildfires start.

Andrew Hackett is a National Rifle Association training counselor and instructor. He said copper, brass and lead ammunition has very little likelihood of causing the sparks that could easily start a fire during this hot summer season.

It's the steel ammunition that's hazardous. Many prefer it because it's about half the price, but anytime the bullets hit a rock, or even leave the barrel, the chance for sparks is high.

Hackett said avoiding outdoor shooting altogether in this weather is the best bet, but for anyone who does go shooting, it's important to be prepared.

"Have a fire extinguisher, of course, a shovel, as well as any fire suppression gear that they could take with them," said Hackett. He also said to ensure there's a bucket of water nearby. "But even so, controlling a fire that starts that quickly with that type of scenario, the common person can't extinguish it."

Instructors said there are two main ways fires are ignited in vegetation. One is from sparks when a steel bullet hits a rock. The second is hot, unburnt powder that's thrown out of the barrel and into the shrubs.

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