Orange County wildfires – Arson or Meteor Shower?

At about 6:00am, the Orange County Fire Authority announced that they suspect arson after learning that this fire had three points of origin. Sounds like they really don’t know yet. How sure do you think they are?

Well, here is my theory…

As I was driving around last night (Sunday) trying to get photos of the fires out here in Orange County, I noticed streaks of light in the sky. Prior to leaving the house last night, I had read about some meteor shower activity happening this weekend but I thought it was for Saturday night.

Seeing this, made me wonder if the meteor shower and the outbreak of fires were somehow related. Does anyone know if it is possible for a meteor shower to cause a fire? If so, isn’t it also possible for a meteor to break into multiple pieces as it burns through our atmosphere; causing three fires to start at about the same time, in a place like Santiago Canyon? Could any of this be possible? I don’t know. What do you think? If you have any insight into anything I have just mentioned, please share!


  1. The chances of a meteor striking the ground in 3 places so close to the road (Santiago Canyon) where other dangerous fires have started is extremely remote. Several miles from a road would be a greater possibility. Also there is no signs of any foreign materials (space rock).

  2. I doubt it. The meteorite (note the -ite) would have to have been huge when it was in space in order to reach the ground in big enough clumps to start a fire. Usually the officials know what they are talking about when they come right out and say publically that it was arson. You could be right, but I think it is just a bizarre coincedence.

  3. I was thinking something similar. Interestingly a pattern of fires are noted at about the same time as meteor showers are being observed. here’s an old news story from 2001 but posted on
    October 23, 2007.

    NASA Engineer Says
    CO Fires Not From Meteorite Shower
    [Original headline: NASA software engineer doubts meteors ignited wildfires ]
    PAGOSA SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) – A NASA software engineer said he doubts a meteor shower ignited a cluster of 18 wildfires on the night of Sept. 25, as firefighters had speculated.
    “By the time meteors hit the ground, they’re just cool rocks,” said Ron Baalke, who works for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
    “They’ve been free-falling for up to 40 miles, and they’re no longer on fire. They’ve already burned up,” he said.
    Baalke told Pagosa Springs Fire Protection District Chief Warren Grams Tuesday he doubted the meteor theory.
    Firefighters do not believe the fires were arson and said Monday they may have been caused by meteors. A meteor streaked across the western Colorado sky on Aug. 17.
    Grams said Tuesday the fires might have been caused by a passing aircraft. All the fires were reported at 7:35 p.m. about 15 miles west of town. All were the same size, about 30 feet in diameter, and were scattered along a line about five miles long.
    “It’s hard to get information these days because of what’s going on in aviation and all the security measures,” Grams said. “But maybe something fell from the air. There’s no way of telling at this point what caused the fires.”
    •Story originally published by:
    Casper Star-Tribune / WY – Oct 11.01
    Posted Oct 09.01 Meteor Shower Suggested As Cause Of Fires
    [Original headline: Maybe it was meteors: Wildfire cluster probed]
    PAGOSA SPRINGS – Firefighters are investigating whether a meteor shower ignited a strange cluster of wildland fires across 4 miles in the Cat Creek Road area the night of Sept. 25.
    Up to 18 small fires erupted around 7:30 that night. The Pagosa Springs Fire Protection District extinguished the small blazes and had them mopped up by early the next morning. In four or five cases, area residents were the first to douse flames since they were threatening their homes, officials said.
    District officials don’t suspect arson, believing instead that some sort of natural event ignited the blazes, firefighter David Vega said. Crews used metal detectors last week to try to find bits of any unusual elements in the area of the burns. So far they have come up empty-handed.
    Officials are asking anyone with information regarding the fires to call 970-731-4191.
    •Story originally published by:
    Denver Post / CO | Electa Draper – Oct 09.01

  4. I doubt it cause the fires are almost all started near a road or highway…?

  5. what kind of meteor flies straight down??

  6. My son and I were out fishing the other night (approx. 3 AM) on my local lake in Texas and witnessed a meteor streak directly vertical towards earth. (The next day I did some internet research and concluded my meteor assumption to be correct) It appeared to be extremely close to us and burned a bright green almost all the way to the ground. I was amazed! About fifteen minutes later we witnessed a black plume of smoke growing thicker and coming from the approximate location the meteor appeared to be headed towards. I called 911 and reported a possible fire. The next day I tried to contact the Grand Prairie FD to inquire about the fire and the possible cause without any luck.

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