20-Acre Mission Viejo Brush Fire Was Sparked By Titanium Golf Club Striking Rock, Officials Say

COSTA MESA (CBSLA.com) — A brush fire that scorched 20 acres near the Arroyo Trabuco golf course in Mission Viejo Tuesday was sparked by a titanium golf club striking a rock, officials said.

The incident highlights the potential danger of hitting the links in a drought-stricken landscape.

Such incidents are more common than one might think –it was the second such fire to be sparked that way at the golf course.

UC Irvine engineering professor James Earthman demonstrated in 2014 how quickly a swing can launch a 3,000-degree spark into the brush.

The golfer who started the blaze on Tuesday did his best to put out the fire, trying to douse it with water bottles and towels, and even the sand used to cover up divots. But he was no match for the dry brush, which quickly allowed the blaze to gallop up nearby hillsides.

The Orange County Fire Authority had better luck — a crew of about 140 firefighters and three firefighting helicopters quickly got a handle on the blaze.

No homes were damaged and no injuries were reported.

Earthman said it might be time for golf club manufacturers to revise the metals they use in certain clubs.

“It was when companies started making other clubs out of titanium that these fires stated to occur, in particular irons and hybrids made of titanium are particularly hazardous,” he said.

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