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Coto Fire Caused by Kids Playing with Fireworks

The blaze Saturday burned 17 acres above the Coto de Caza Golf and Racquet Club.

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.

Snooki Schmooki May 24, 2011 at 04:21 PM
if people were allowed to use them legally in a safe area, like their street, there would be far fewer fires from fireworks. People have been enjoying fireworks since they were invented in China nearly 2000 years ago. Give people a place to use them and they won't need to go hide in undeveloped areas to enjoy them.
Martin Henderson (Editor) May 24, 2011 at 06:42 PM
Much better to use fireworks on the pavement than dry grass, but in this instance, saying this was about enjoyment for the people of a community (or a cul de sac) might be a tough sell. Don't you think that legalizing fireworks, thereby making them more easily available to kids, would enhance the risk of fires rather than reduce? My impression is that if kids have access to fireworks, they're not going to limit themselves to the safe area like their street. (By the way, Snooki, I liked your comment about how the fire might have started from the friction of egos of the RHOC. Very funny).

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