Investigators Determine Laguna Blaze Was Accidental

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A helicopter makes a water drop during the June 2 fire near Soka University in Aliso Viejo, which borders the Aliso Wood Canyon Wilderness Park. Photo by Mark Golter
A helicopter makes a water drop during the June 2 fire near Soka University in Aliso Viejo, which borders the Aliso Wood Canyon Wilderness Park. Photo by Mark Golter

Investigators believe a juvenile accidently ignited the fire that burned 175 acres of brush in a wilderness park and forced the temporary evacuation of hundreds of homes in Laguna Beach and Aliso Viejo.

Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Tony Bommarito this week declined to provide any other details about the culprit, including what sort of instrument set off the brush fire Saturday, June 2, in the Aliso Wood Canyon Wilderness Park.

A ground assault by 400 firefighters along with six air tankers and four helicopters suppressed the wind-driven blaze, which was declared fully contained last week. No structures were harmed, but five firefighters were injured fighting the blaze.

Another blaze just days later in Laguna Canyon Road remains the subject of an inquiry, Bommarito said. In that incident, investigators determined that three separate blazes occurred within the space of a mile, he said. Firefighters again doused the canyon blaze before any structures were damaged.

Sparks flying from a malfunctioning catalytic converter in a vehicle proved the ignition source for similar separate but proximate unintentional fires, he said.

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