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

August 31, 2010 |  7:35 am

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