Los Angeles

Fire Officials Reveal Causes of Orange County Canyon Fires

Fire officials Monday revealed the findings of the investigation into Canyon Fire 1 and Canyon Fire 2 which swallowed thousands of acres, causing devastation in Orange County months prior.

Canyon Fire 1 was "most likely" caused by a road flare, Anaheim Fire and Rescue Chief Randy Bruegman said at a news conference.

Bruegman said a car hit a road flare which spun off the road and into the brush, igniting the 2,600 acre blaze that burned in the end of September between Corona and Anaheim.

"Caltrans worked closely with the Anaheim Fire Department during the investigation and we have already begun reviewing our existing policies and procedures to look for ways we can make improvements," Caltrans District 12 Director Ryan Chamberlain said in a statement.

The Canyon Fire 2 sparked the morning of Oct. 9 by embers that rose from a smoldering clump of oak within the original Canyon Fire burn area. He said those embers were pushed by Santa Ana winds about 60 to 80 feet into unburned vegetation, touching off Canyon Fire 2, which ultimately burned about 9,200 acres.

The Canyon Fire 2 spread quickly, exploding from a hillside brush fire into an inferno that consumed at least a dozen homes in Anaheim Hills. The fire was included in Gov. Jerry Brown's state of emergency declaration as deadly wildfires were also ripping apart California's wine country.

The Canyon Fire 2 scorched 7,500 acres beginning early October, with winds gusting 30 mph, fanning flames near homes. 

Editor's Note: This article has been updated to correctly attribute a statement to Caltrans District 12 Director Ryan Chamberlain. 

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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