A couple of kids playing with illegal fireworks sparked the blaze Saturday afternoon above Coto de Caza that necessitated the efforts of about 100 firefighters to extinguish.
Two boys in their early teens were responsible for the fire that burned 17 acres, according to Greg McKeown, the Orange County Fire Authority spokesman.
One of the boys has already agreed to participate in the OCFA's Fire F.R.I.E.N.D.S program, which is a juvenile fire service program to educate children on the dangers of fire and fireworks, McKeown said Monday.
Fireworks, even those registered as safe and sane that can be purchased legally at stands in north Orange County, are illegal in south Orange County—particularly Rancho Santa Margarita and its surrounding area.
"In Rancho Santa Margarita, they're never legal to use," McKeown said."These were not safe and sane fireworks. These were firecrackers and bottle rockets ... they're not fireworks you can buy at the fireworks stand legally."
Because the fire was on land designated as a State Responsibility Area, it will be up to the state to determine if it will seek reimbursement.
"Fireworks in general cause a lot of fires, but kids playing with fireworks causing fires in wild land areas is infrequent, but more frequent as we get toward the fourth of July," McKeown said.