Anaheim fire officials said Monday a small blaze that was spotted the night before the Canyon Fire 2 erupted in the Anaheim Hills was not the cause of the brush fire that ultimately destroyed more than two dozen structures.
Anaheim fire Chief Randy Bruegman said Canyon Fire 2 was actually 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 announcement counters claims by a critic who has accused the Orange County Fire Authority of ignoring a report of flames in the original Canyon Fire burn area the night of Oct. 8. OCFA officials have vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
Bruegman said the flames spotted Oct. 8 in the Sierra Peak area were "several miles'' from the flashpoint of Canyon Fire 2.
"That fire had no relationship to the Canyon 2 Fire,'' he said, echoing comments made earlier by OCFA officials.
Bruegman said investigators have traced the cause of the original Canyon Fire, which erupted Sept. 25 and ultimately burned about 2,600 acres, to a road flare deployed by a Caltrans sweeper train crew. The chief said that based on witness statements, the flare was likely struck by a vehicle, sending it spinning into a shrub along the Riverside (91) Freeway near Coal Canyon.