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LAGUNA BEACH | Community News Focus

2 Arson Fires Rekindle Memories of 1993 Blaze

August 28, 1997|STEVE CARNEY

A pair of intentionally set brush fires on Wednesday brought back harrowing memories of the wildfire of 1993, but the latest blazes were contained without injuries or damage to homes.

Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Scott Brown said low winds and high humidity helped keep the fires from spreading beyond 20 acres and reaching the levels seen four years ago, when another arson fire scorched 16,600 acres.

That October 1993 fire, which destroyed 366 homes and caused $400 million in damage, was set in brush just west of Laguna Canyon Road.

Wednesday's fires were set in the same area, one about 10 a.m. at El Toro and Laguna Canyon roads, and one about 1:30 p.m. at Woodland Drive and Laguna Canyon Road, Brown said.

Arson investigators talked to witnesses and scoured the area for clues, Brown said. They don't know if the latest fires are related to the 1993 blaze, which remains unsolved, he said.

But lessons learned then helped fight Wednesday's fires, Brown said. This time, firefighters dropped water on the burning brush from three helicopters and two airplanes, and officials coordinated efforts between the aircraft and 200 firefighters on the ground.

Anyone with information about the fires is asked to call Fire Authority investigators at (714) 744-0514.

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