Gunfire sparked huge wildfire near Yosemite

Gunfire sparked a massive California wildfire that raged near Yosemite National Park last month and destroyed more than 60 homes, fire officials said Saturday.

The so-called Detwiler Fire broke out just before 4 p.m. local time (7 p.m. ET) on July 16, and burned more than 81,000 acres, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. It was 97 percent contained as of Saturday.

"The discharge of firearms, on public lands, is responsible for sparking the fire," the department, known as Cal Fire, said in a statement on Saturday.

The specific circumstances about the cause of the fire remain under investigation, Cal Fire said. The department said a $2,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for starting the fire.

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Wildfires rage across western United States
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Wildfires rage across western United States

The full moon rises over flames of the Alamo fire on a hilltop off Highway 166 east of Santa Maria, California, U.S. July 7, 2017. 

(Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Dept/Handout via REUTERS)

Smoke from the Alamo fire rises in an aerial view near Santa Maria, California, U.S. July 7, 2017.

(San Luis Obispo Fire Department/Handout via REUTERS)

A young black bear leaves the area around Twitchell Dam as firefighters battle the Alamo fire near Santa Maria, California, U.S. July 7, 2017.

(Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Dept/Handout via REUTERS)

Smoke rises from the Goodwin Fire which had prompted the evacuation of the town of Mayer, Arizona, U.S. June 27, 2017.

(Arizona Department of Transportation/Handout via REUTERS)

Smoke rises from the Goodwin Fire which had prompted the evacuation of the town of Mayer, Arizona, U.S. June 27, 2017.

(Arizona Department of Transportation/Handout via REUTERS)

Smoke rises from the Goodwin Fire which had prompted the evacuation of the town of Mayer, Arizona, U.S. June 28, 2017.

(Arizona Department of Transportation/Handout via REUTERS)

An aerial photo of wildfires burning across almost 50,000 acres near the ski resort of Brian Head, about 245 miles south of Salt Lake City, Utah is shown in this handout photo provided June 27, 2017.

(Courtesy Lt. Governor Spencer J Cox/Handout via REUTERS)

An aerial photo of wildfires burning across almost 50,000 acres near the ski resort of Brian Head, about 245 miles south of Salt Lake City, Utah is shown in this handout photo provided June 27, 2017.

(Courtesy Lt. Governor Spencer J Cox/Handout via REUTERS)

Amy Noraka, holding daughter Sage, 3, left, and her husband Chris Noraka, with son Tyler, 6, watch as helicopters dump water on the Peak 2 fire on July 5, 2017 in Breckenridge, Colorado. The fire, which started shortly after noon, resulted in a mandatory evacuation for the Peak 7 neighborhood and an evacuation standby order for roughly 40 homes in the Gold Hill neighborhood. A shift in the wind is pushing the wildfire north and slowing its climb up the mountain. Eight smokejumpers and a local firefighting crew are on scene. An air attack is underway with a tanker dropping flame retardant and a helicopter conducting bucket drops. The fire broke out in the Gold Hill Trail area near Breckenridge.

(Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Concerned residents look at the Peak 2 fire from the top of Swan Mountain Road on July 5, 2017 in Breckenridge, Colorado. The fire, which started shortly after noon, resulted in a mandatory evacuation for the Peak 7 neighborhood and an evacuation standby order for roughly 40 homes in the Gold Hill neighborhood. A shift in the wind is pushing the wildfire north and slowing its climb up the mountain. Eight smokejumpers and a local firefighting crew are on scene. An air attack is underway with a tanker dropping flame retardant and a helicopter conducting bucket drops. The fire broke out in the Gold Hill Trail area near Breckenridge.

(Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Firetrucks arrive on scene to help fight the Peak 2 fire on July 5, 2017 in Breckenridge, Colorado. The fire, which started shortly after noon, resulted in a mandatory evacuation for the Peak 7 neighborhood and an evacuation standby order for roughly 40 homes in the Gold Hill neighborhood. A shift in the wind is pushing the wildfire north and slowing its climb up the mountain. Eight smokejumpers and a local firefighting crew are on scene. An air attack is underway with a tanker dropping flame retardant and a helicopter conducting bucket drops. The fire broke out in the Gold Hill Trail area near Breckenridge.

(Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Fighters move into the woods to fight a wildfire that is burning on June 25, 2017 outside Panguitch, Utah. The fire named the 'Brian Head Fire' started last week and has burned more then 43,000 acres and destroyed 13 homes as of June 25th.

(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

As the sun sets helicopters continue to make water dumps on the Peak 2 fire on July 5, 2017 in Breckenridge, Colorado. The fire, which started shortly after noon, resulted in a mandatory evacuation for the Peak 7 neighborhood and an evacuation standby order for roughly 40 homes in the Gold Hill neighborhood. A shift in the wind is pushing the wildfire north and slowing its climb up the mountain. Eight smokejumpers and a local firefighting crew are on scene. An air attack is underway with a tanker dropping flame retardant and a helicopter conducting bucket drops. The fire broke out in the Gold Hill Trail area near Breckenridge.

(Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

A wildfire burned up to the the edge of a home but left it standing on June 25, 2017 outside Panguitch, Utah. The fire named the 'Brian Head Fire' started last week and has burned more then 43,000 acres and destroyed 13 homes as of June 25th.

(Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

As the sun sets helicopters continue to make water dumps on the Peak 2 fire on July 5, 2017 in Breckenridge, Colorado. The fire, which started shortly after noon, resulted in a mandatory evacuation for the Peak 7 neighborhood and an evacuation standby order for roughly 40 homes in the Gold Hill neighborhood. A shift in the wind is pushing the wildfire north and slowing its climb up the mountain. Eight smokejumpers and a local firefighting crew are on scene. An air attack is underway with a tanker dropping flame retardant and a helicopter conducting bucket drops. The fire broke out in the Gold Hill Trail area near Breckenridge.

(Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

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It is not uncommon for gunfire to start fires, Cal Fire Battalion Chief Mike Mohler said Saturday, and shooting is legal in the area where the fire began. Mohler said shooters need to use the proper ammunition for the area, and "also know where your target is and where that round is going to go."

Over 1,600 fire personnel responded to the Detwiler Fire, which started at Detwiler and Hunters Valley roads east of Lake McClure, which is west of Yosemite National Park, and it burned in Mariposa County.

PHOTOS: California Wildfire Threatens Gold Rush-Era Towns

The fire's explosive growth triggered evacuation orders in nearby towns and prompted Gov. Jerry Brown to declare a state of emergency. Several minor injuries were reported but no one died in the blaze. A total of 63 residences, 67 minor structures, and one commercial building were destroyed in the fire, Cal Fire said.

At least 16 wildfires were burning across the state as of Saturday, according to Cal Fire.

More than 3,700 fires have burned in the state from January 1 through July 30, burning a little more than 206,000 acres, according to the department, compared to 2,860 fires during the same period last year that burned just over 139,000 acres.

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