A controlled burn of a swampy area at Bittersweet Golf Club in Gurnee, Ill., by employees grew to several acres, and several regional fire departments extinguished the blaze. In Mission Viejo, Calif., a golfer at Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club accidentally started a 20-acre brush fire when his golf club struck a rock and produced sparks. Though the fire was ruled unintentional, investigators will decide if the golfer will face consequences.
A controlled burn at Bittersweet Golf Club in Gurnee, Ill., started by employees got out of control Tuesday afternoon, and a box alarm was called for regional fire departments to extinguish the blaze with assistance from members of the multi-agency Wildland Task Force, the Chicago Tribune reported.
One employee of the golf course was taken to an area hospital for a checkup after battling the blaze, said Battalion Chief Don Skillman of the Gurnee Fire Department.
Skillman said the fire department was called in shortly after noon to the course, where employees were doing a controlled burn in a swampy area that got so large it looked like it might consume a wooden bridge used by golf carts on the course, the Tribune reported.
“It got to be several acres,” Skillman said, but the first engines on the scene took up a defensive position at the bridge, where the fire was burning within 15 to 20 feet, and it was not damaged, the Tribune reported.
A box alarm was called to bring in extra equipment from Lake and McHenry county departments along with some from Wisconsin, and the Lake and McHenry County Special Response Team for wildfires came with its equipment, such as all-terrain vehicles and lighter hoses, the Tribune reported.
“It was confined to the swamp area. Sometimes the Wildland technicians will just let it burn itself out after it is contained, but in this case it would have taken a long time,” said Skillman, so the technicians went into the swamp to stop it from spreading.
In Mission Viejo, Calif., firefighters extinguished a 20-acre brush fire near the Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club on Tuesday afternoon. Investigators said the fire was started when a golfer hit a rock and produced sparks, the Santa Ana, Calif., Orange County Register reported.
“The golfer had hit the ball into the rough,” Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Larry Kurtz said. “As he was trying to get it out he accidentally hit a rock and it started a fire.”
Kurtz said the golfer was cooperative and tried to put out the sparks but the flames grew fast and “got out of control.” The blaze, reported at 2:30 p.m., soon grew to several acres, the Register reported.
Homes nearby were threatened but some neighbors were scared and left. The Galovan family live on Foliate, in the home closest to the flames, the Register reported. “Getting the family out was a priority,” said Scott Galovan. Son Tyler, 8, saved his ant farm and brought it along in the car. “I wanted them to be safe. I was scared when I saw the flames.”
The blaze was reported under control by 4 p.m. after 145 firefighters, several fire engines and three water-dropping helicopters worked to extinguish the flames in the mountainous area, Kurtz said. There were no injuries or damage to structures, the Register reported.
Fire officials said the blaze was not intentional but the agency’s investigations unit would decide if the golfer, who was not identified, could face consequences. It is not unheard of for golf clubs to start a fire. A 2014 UCI study found that clubs were likely the cause of several blazes in Orange County, the Register reported.