SHEET METAL REFLECTION CAUSE OF CALIFORNIA FIRE : CORONA (AP) — A Southern California wildfire that prompted evacuations over the weekend in the Cleveland National Forest was started by the sun’s rays reflecting off sheet metal that edged a homeowner’s backyard garden, fire officials said Monday.
The 2-foot-tall metal fencing surrounded a vegetable garden and was intended to keep small rodents out, said Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi.
The reflection off the sheet metal ignited a wooden border and nearby grass and then spread into Silverado Canyon, prompting the evacuation of 200 homes.
That evacuation order was lifted late Sunday and the 1½-square-miles fire was 80 percent contained on Monday. The blaze started Friday.
The homeowner will not be charged or fined for the accidental blaze, but fire officials said it’s an important reminder to use mesh fencing instead of reflective material.
In the past, fires have started from similar reflections off broken pieces of glass or litter such as glass bottles and tin cans, Concialdi said.
“It just shows you how incredibly dry our vegetation and woods are now after three years of hard drought,” he said.
SHARK SIGHTING PROMPTS WARNING IN SANTA CRUZ: SANTA CRUZ (AP) — State parks officials are urging beach-goers in the Santa Cruz area to be on alert after a shark was spotted attacking a seal in the waters off a public beach.
California State Parks Supervising Ranger Joe Connors says the shark was seen about 50 yards off Seabright State Beach on Sunday. Connors tells the Santa Cruz Sentinel a woman reported that the shark was flipping the seal into the air. She also saw blood in the water.
Connors says reports of such shark attacks off state beaches are uncommon. Still, park officials plan to post warnings in Santa Cruz and nearby Twin Lakes for three days.
Beachgoers can then decide whether they want to enter the water.
COAST GUARD PULLS 6 FROM SF BAY AFTER BOAT SINKS: OAKLAND (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard says it rescued six people from the waters of San Francisco Bay after their pontoon boat sank near Oakland.
The Coast Guard says it received a 911 call Sunday afternoon from the operator of the 26-foot pontoon boat saying it was taking on water in the area of Oakland Middle Harbor.
The operator and five passengers put on life jackets and stayed on the boat as long as possible before it sank.
A Coast Guard crew arrived, safely pulled all six people from the water and took them to Jack London Square for evaluation.
The Coast Guards says the six refused to take field sobriety tests and one person was taken into custody.
9 HURT IN CRASH ON SF BAY AREA FREEWAY: SAN LEANDRO (AP) — The California Highway Patrol says a crash left nine people injured and blocked all lanes of a major San Francisco Bay Area freeway.
The fiery incident on Interstate 880 began around 3 a.m. Monday when an SUV driver crashed in the southbound lanes. A truck swerved to avoid the SUV and went through the center divider and onto the opposite side of the highway.
CHP Officer Colton Kropp tells the San Francisco Chronicle that led to other crashes. A total of ten vehicles were involved.
Nine people were taken to hospitals, three with major injuries. The other injuries were considered minor or moderate.
Southbound and northbound lanes reopened later in the morning.