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Golfer sparked Irvine brush fire trying to hit ball, officials say; 150 firefighters respond

A golfer accidentally chipped a rock, setting off a 12-acre blaze next to the Shady Canyon Golf Course in Irvine, officials said.

More than 150 firefighters from around Orange County battled the blaze, with helicopters overhead and hand crews on the front lines, said Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Greg McKeown.

The fire spread across two hillsides in dry-as-tinderbox conditions.

"Usually, we're able to close out the fire season in the winters here," McKeown added, "but we haven't been able to do that since 2006. That's just how dry it is out there."

McKeown said no charges have been filed against the golfer, whose name has been withheld. Apparently, the golfer was in the rough and was trying to hit his ball out of it when he accidentally swiped at a rock, which sparked the blaze at 12:07 p.m. Saturday, officials said.

McKeown said brush fires are not uncommon when temperatures reach into the high 70s and lower 80s and conditions are right.

When there is no rain, the overgrown brush — or in this case sage and scrub oak — are flammable.

"There's a lot of dead growth out there," said McKeown, adding that the dry stuff is always "a pretty big contributor" to wildfires in the region when they do break out.

Read the full Daily Pilot story here.

--Tom Regan, Times Community News

 
Comments () | Archives (10)

That is a lie! NO WAY can a golf club start a fire by sparking a rock. A lit cigarette or match is what really happened.

I have seen many a time when a golf club created a spark from striking a rock. Never actually seen it start a fire, but in the right condition it's possible.

I have seen sparks from my driver on the teeing ground.

I just knew golfing was a dangerous sport!

Really? I'll buy into the spark theory as a stretch...but no effort to stamp it out by the dude before it became a 12 acre fire?

Do you think he will want to be playing golf again anytime soon?

Don't they water the lawns in those big OC golf courses. Like the guy said, he probably lit a cigarette and flick his match into the dry grass.

I dont believe this for a second. lets say that by chance there was a spark from a swing of golf club against a rock (mean time players on reality show survivor cant get a spark while rubbing rocks for 3 hours!!!) ; then you tellin me either he just walked away from it or when he saw the small flames he ignored it???? a spark and flames start very small, why didnt he step on the damn thing. SOMETHING DONT SOUND RIGHT HERE !!!

smokey the bear : only YOU can prevent Forest Golfers....

Was there just tinder everywhere? This is no way true....... Unless his club has a few gallons of gasoline, a flint match, and brown/dry grass everywhere. If the police department does not investigate this I know this is fraud. Please suspend the latimes from not letting us make our voices heard.


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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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