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10-25-2009 Loma Fire Inv Report_2

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					                                                                                    ORIGINATORS CASE
               SUPPLEMENTARY INVESTIGATION REPORT                                        NUMBER
               STATE OF CALIFORNIA
               DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY AND
               FIRE PROTECTION (Form LE-71)                                             09CACZU09867
                            MONTH      DATE                   COUNTY      REG      RU          INCIDENT#
                          October       25              Santa Clara       CNR     czu            9867


     2     Summary:
     3
     4     On October 25,2009 at approximately 2:41 a.m., fire suppression units from the

     5     California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the Santa Clara County Fire

     6     Department responded to   a reported vegetation fire in the area of Summit Road and Lorna
     7     Prieta Way. Units responded to that intersection and were unable to locate any fire. The

      8    fire was actually located approximately 3 miles south at the intersection ofLoma Prieta

      9    Way and Mount Madonna-Summit Road. Another reporting party called at

     10    approximately 3:25 a.m. and provided more information on the fire. Fire suppression

     11    units were dispatched to the new location at approximately 3:28 a.m. At approximately

           3:40a.m., Cal Fire Engine I 768 arrived at the fire. Fire Captain O'Keefe observed
(    12

     13    approximately two acres of brush burning on both sides of Summit Road. The fire was

     14    wind driven and was burning down canyon. The fire burned approximately 435 acres of

     15    grass, brush and trees before being controlled. The fire also destroyed four Recreational

     16    Vehicles, one pick up truck, seven outbuildings. An origin arid cause investigation was

     17    completed on the fire. Several piles of cut brush were burned by Cal Fire during the

     18    maintenance of a fuel break and fire access roads in the area. The area where the Lorna

     19    Fire ignited received approximately 13 inches ofrain prior to October I 6. The pile

     20.   adjacent to the origin of the Lorna Fire was burned on October I 6, 2009 by Cal Fire Ben

     21    Lomond Crew #2, supervised by Captain GOMEZ. After completing, the burning for the

     22    day GOMEZ instructed the crew to fully extinguish the fires using hand tools. GOMEZ

     23    stated he checked all the piles before leaving and determined they were all fully

(_   24    extinguished. GOMEZ returned to the area on October 23,2009 and burned cut brush in
                                                      1 of2
         another location. GOMEZ checked the original subject burn pile before leaving and

     2   found no hot material. The origin and cause investigation determined the Lorna Fire

     3   ignited within 26' 2" of subject burn pile. Hot material was found in the subject pile even

     4   though it had completely burned the cut brush. The composition of the subject burn pile

     5   had been altered during suppression activities of the Lama Fire. A responding volunteer

     6   fire engine had used hand tools to bury the subject pile with dirt. Hot material was found

     7   in the pile within 7 hours of the Lorna Fire being reported. Temperature readings taken at

     8   that time were approximately 1700 degree F. The subject burn pile had clearance

     9   mandated by the burn permit. The pile was burned in accordance with permit

    10   requirements. The placement of dirt on top of the pile prior to leaving on October 16

    II   insulated the pile and helped keep the heat in until disturbed by high winds on October

    12   25. There was a delay of approximately one hour for fire suppression equipment to arrive

    13   at the fire scene, due to confusion in the fire's actual location. Several local residents

(   14   reported seeing smoldering burn piles along Lorna Prieta Way, during the week of

    15   October 19. During the origin and cause investigation, burn patterns consistent with the

    16   burning of an ignitable liquid were found near the specific origin area. An accelerant

    17   detection canine was deployed in the area and alerted in several locations. Analysis of

    18   the soil was conducted. No ignitable liquid residue was found in the samples. Aromatic

    19   hydrocarbons were located in some of the soil samples. (see the lab repmi for specifics)

    20   The Lorna Fire was caused by hot embers from the subject burn pile igniting nearby dry

    21   duff and ground litter.


    COPIES TO                                            I INVESTIGATION STATUS
    RUO     REG0   HQO    DAD      AGO    OTHER   0       CLOSED   0   CONTINUING   12J   OTHER

    PRINTED NAME OF REPORTING OFFICER    REPORTING OFFICER SIGNATURE       TITLE                  DATE OF REPORT

    James Engel                                                            Division Chief




                                                      2 of2
                                                                                           ORIGINATORS CASE
                 SUPPLEMENTARY INVESTIGATION REPORT
     ~
                                                                                                NUMBER
                 STATE OF CALIFORNIA
~                DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY AND
\                FIRE PROTECTION (Form LE-71)                                                  09CACZU09867
    CASE TITLE
    Lorna Fire
                         I   MONTH
                       October     25
                                       I'   DATE
                                          2009
                                                   I   YEAR
                                                   Santa Clara
                                                              I        COUNTY
                                                                      CNR czu
                                                                                I   REG   RU
                                                                                          9867
                                                                                               II   INCIDENT#


         On Sunday October 25, 2009 at approx1mately 2:41 a.m., fire suppress10n umts from the

     2    California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and the Santa Clara County Fire

     3    Department responded to a reported vegetation fire at Summit Road and Lorna Prieta

     4    Way. The first in Cal Fire unit was Engine 1768 from the Burrell Station. No fire was

     5    located along Lorna Prieta Way east of Summit Road. In this area, Lorna Prieta Way

     6     intersects with Mt. Bache Way to the east and Summit Road to the west. The road name

     7    Lorna Prieta is used on several differenfroads in the immediate area. Craig PONKEY

     8    was the initial reporting party. PONKEY gave his cell phone number to the dispatcher

     9    when he reported the fire. No fire was located. No record of a callback by Santa Clara

    10     County Fire Dispatch was located. The dispatch was cancelled and all units returned to

(   II    their respective quarters. At approximately 3:28 a.m., the Cal Fire Felton Emergency
'
    12     Command Center (ECC) received a cell phone call from Scott WEBSTER. WEBSTER

    13     reported a fire near the Mid-Peninsula Open Space District Gate on Lorna Prieta Way and

    14    Mount Madonna-Summit Road. WEBSTER described a fire burning in grass and brush

    15     and being approximately Y, acre in size, WEBSTER stated there were high winds

    16     pushing the fire. WEBSTER stated he. thought the fire was the result of a Cal Fire burn

    17     job that had escaped. Felton ECC dispatched Cal Fire Engine 1768 to the new location.

    18     Engine 1768 arrived on scene at approximately 3:44a.m. Fire Captain O'KEEFE

    19     observed 2 acres ofbrush and grass burning and being heavily influenced by the wind.

    20     O'KEEFE reported the fire jumped over Summit Road just after his arrival at the fire. A

    21     full wildland fire dispatch was made by both the Cal Fire Santa Clara Unit and the Cal

    22     Fire Santa Cruz Unit.



                                                              1 of40
               At approximately 6:45 a.m., Investigator Rich SAMPSON arrived at the fire.

    ~.    2    SAMPSON immediately called Jim PALISI from the Belmont-San Carlos Fire Protection
    \
          3    District to assist with the investigation. SAMPSON recognized the fire was burning in a

          4    fuel reduction project that Cal Fire was doing in the area. SAMPSON also knew there

          5    had been burning conducted in the past few weeks to dispose of cut brush from the

          6    project.

          7    At approximately 8:00 a.m., Investigator Jim PALlS! arrived at the fire. PALISI and

          8    SAMPSON secured an area they believed to be the general origin area based on the fire

          9    spread indicators they were observing.

         10   · At approximately 9:00a.m. I received a phone call from Rich SAMPSON regarding the

         11    fire. SAMPSON requested additional investigators from outside the. San Mateo- Santa

         12    Cruz Unit respond. At approximately 9:30a.m., I received a phone call from the

         13    Northern Region Duty Chief Cesar PARTIDA. PARTIDA requested I respond to the fire ·

(        14    and oversee the investigation of the origin and cause. I left the Chico area at

         15    approximately 2:00 p.m. and drove to the San Jose Area. I arrived at the fire scene at

         16    approximately 6:30p.m. I met with Investigator Jim PALlS! and Investigator Darren

         17    STEWART near the intersection of Lorna Prieta Way and Mount Madonna-Summit

         18    Road. I noted Lorna Prieta Way was a left hand turn from southbound Summit Road.

         19    The two roads then paralleled each other until Lorna Prieta turned northeast. This

         20    "Peninsula" of land had a predominant ridge that ran parallel to both the roads. PALlS!

         21    led me up the embankment from Lorna Prieta Way, to the top of the ridge. Looking

         22    down on the burned area between the ridge and Summit Road, PALlS! stated the first in

         23    engine companu observed the fire in this area, and shortly after their arrival, the fire

         24    jumped Summit Road and began burning down canyon. PALlS! stated he recorded the

         25    following weather observations shortly after his arrival at approximately 8:00a.m.
I
'~~~
                                                           2 of40
          Approximately 70 degrees F. Relative Humidity- 20%, Winds- north to northeast at 18

     2    mph,.gusting to 30-35 mph. PALISI used a handheld "Kestrel" weather-recording

     3    device. I noted there was barricade tape restricting access to part of the fire. PALlS!

     4    stated based on the macro fire spread indicators he observed, this flagged off area was

      5   part of the general origin area.

      6   I contacted SAMPSON by phone. SAMPSON stated he was dispatched to the fire at

      7   approximately 5:40 a. in. and arrived at approximately 6:45 a.m. SAMPSON stated he

     .8   located what he though to be the smoldering remains of a burn pile adjacent to the

      9   general origin area. SAMPSON used his thenno heat gun to check the surface

     10   temperature of the pile. SAMPSON recorded tbe following temperature readings at

     11   approximately 11 :00 a.m. -several hits at 400 degrees F. and one at 1040 degrees F.

     12   SAMPSON stated he recorded the following weather observations.

     13   9:07a.m.- Wind-NEat 12 mph with gusts to 25. 62 degrees F. 27% Relative Humidity
/    14
(    15   II :45 a.m.-- Wind-Nat 15 mph gusts to 33 mph. 66 degrees F. 25% Relative Humidity
     16
     17   I re-contacted PALlS! at the fire scene. PALISI explained this area was the location of a

     18   fuel reduction project that was ongoing by the Cal Fire Santa Clara Unit. I observed the

     19   open area above Lorna Prieta Way h~d numerous brush stabs sticking up 3'' to 4" above

     20   the ground. This was consistent with brush removal with a cutting tool (such as a chain

     21   saw). There was unburned brush along the top of the ridge, parallel to Lorna Prieta Way.

     22   I located an area where the brush had been cut away, allowing me access to the south side

     23   of the ridge. I found a hand line had been cut during fire control operations, along the

     24   burn. I was able to view the pmtion of the burn area, directly above Summit Road. I

     25   noted several large trees in the burn had significant angle of char, protection and needle

     26   freeze, indicating the fire spread frorn my left to right as I was looking toward Summit

     27   Road. These macro indicators supported the fire spreading from an area near the fuel
i
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                                                     3 of40
"
             reduction project, toward Summit Road. I returned to the Lorna Prieta Way side of the

        2    ridge. I walked along the cleared section to the east. I located a burned area

        3    approximately 30' long that was on the Lorna Prieta Way side. of the brush line. This

        4    burn appeared fresh and had not been subject to fire suppression activities. I observed an

         5   area between the brush pile remains and the edge of the continuous'burn. The soil had a

        6    dark black sooty burn. The pattern of the burn was irregular and was consistent with an

        7    ignitable liquid pattern. I saw no remains of any fuel that could have burned to make

        8    such a pattern. No ash remains were present or burnt stobs, indicating the presence of

         9   flammable vegetation burning at that particular spot. I contacted PALlS I and.asked him

        10   to coordinate the collection of a soil sample and to request accelerant detection canine.

        11   Even though I had not determined the specific origin area, I did not want the integrity of

        12   the san1ple to deteriorate, in case it was somehow related to the cause of the fire.

        13   At approximately9:20 p.m., Evidence Technician Mark MURA YAMA from the Santa

    (   14   Clara County CI'imc Lab arrived at my location, near the origin of the Lorna Fire.

        15   Investigator PALISI briefed MURA YAMA on the cumint investigation into the origin

        16   and cause of the fire. PALlS! instructed MURA YAMA to collect a soil sample and

        17   control sample fi·om the sooty burn pattern we had found near the subject burn pile

        18   nearest the origin. MURA YAMA collected both samples and transported them back to

        19   the crime lab for analysis.

        20   The winds at this time were blowing an estimated 25 mph. I observed sparks blowing

        21   into the burn area, from the open portion of the fuel reduction project. I walked to this

        22   area and located an area that appeared to have fresh di1t piled on it. This was the spot

        23   that SAMPSON had used his thermal gun at earlier. I noted the presence of fresh tool

        24   marks around the outside'diameter of this area. It appeared the area was freshly covered

        25   with dirt. The spot was directly inline with the windrow ofbrush, and between the Loma


                                                         4 of40
           Prieta Road and the area with the sooty burn pattern. I continued to observe the wind

     2     disturb the soil, uncovering hot embers and blowing them into the burq area. I used my

     3     boot to remove more dirt and located several more places where hot, glowing embers

     4     were.

     5     At approximately 10:00 p.m. I turned over security of the origin area to Cal Fire

     6     Firefighters Matt GOMEZ and Riga AYALA. I instructed both firefighters to remain

     7     awake all night and keep unauthorized personnel out of the origin area. My plan was to

     s·    continue the investigation during daylight hours.

     9     On Monday October 26, 2009, at approximately 8:00a.m., Investigator P ALISI returned

    10     to the fire and relieved Cal Fire Firefighters Matt GOMEZ and Riga AYALA, I contacted

    11     PALJSI at approximately 8:45a.m. at the General Origin Area.

    12     I decided to order an additional outside investigator for a second opinion. I recognized

    13     the potential for the fire cause to be related to the Cal Fire burn piles. I placed a name
I
I   14     request order for Gary WHITE (of Gary WHITE and Associates). WHITE was not a

    15     government employed investigator and I felt would be the best option for neutral party.

    16    . At approximately 8:30a.m., Investigator PALlS I contacted David WARD at the general
                    .                                                        .


    17     origin area. WARD stated he is a Fire Captain with the Casa Loma Volunteer Fire

    18     Association. WARD stated on October 25, 2009 at approximately 2:30 a.m., he was

    19     contacted hy Craig PONKEY, a local resident. PONKEY advised WARD there was a

    20     fire burning at the junction ofMt. Madonna-Summit Road and Loina Prieta Way.

    21     WARD stated he drove to the area and observed the fire burning. He returned to his

    22     residence and contacted the Morgan Hill ECC. WARD notified the ECC of the fire and

    23     waited to be dispatched. WARD stated he received the dispatch page for the fire at

    24     approximately 3:53 a.m. WARD stated he arrived in the area of the Mid-Peninsula Open

    25     Space District Gate at approximately 5:00a.m. WARD stated he observed the fire

~
                                                       5 of40
"
                          burning on top of the ridge (in the area we had determined to be the general origin area).

n        g;;:-;;p.    2   He also observed embers blowing from one of the burn piles. WARD stated he
         \

                      3   accompanied another firefighter up to the area and buried the pile that had the hot embers

                      4   using dirt. WARD was concerned the blowing embers could ignite another fire.

                      5   Origin and Cause Examination:

                     6    I began my examination by walking eastbound on Summit Road from Lorna Prieta Way.

                      7   I observed bum on both sides of Summit Road. ·I noted the presence of macro spread

                      8   indicators on the north side of Summit Road. These indicators consisted of angle of char

                      9   and needle freeze. The angle of char on several of the pine trees was consistent with the

                     10   fire burning toward Summit Road from the area of the fuel reduction project, above

                     II   Lama Prieta Way. I also observed a strip of unburned fuel along the edge of Summit

                     I2   Road. This was consistent with the fire not originating along Summit Road and

                     I3   spreading toward Lorna Prieta Way. I was able to look down slope from Summit Road
         /
    (                14   toward the town of Santa Cruz. Most of the brush on this slop was completely burned
    •
                     I5   away. Toward the bottom of the canyon, I could see the burn transitioned into an area

                     16   that did not have as complete burn, numerous islands of unburned brush were visible. I

                     17   could also see large amounts of white smoke coming frcim the bottom of the canyon,

                     18   along the natural drainage. The north side of Summit Road had an elevated fuel bed,

                     19   approximately 6' above the Lama Prieta Way. I walked back up Summit Road to Lama

                     20   Prieta Way and return'ed to PALISI's location. From Lama Prieta Way I walked up the

                     21   embankment, on the south side of the road. I observed   a large area that had all of the
                     22   brush removed. This area was approximately 65' to 70' wide, and ran parallel to Lama

                     23   Prieta Way. The brush had been removed between the edge ofthe embankment and the

                     24   top of the ridge. This was consistent with a fuel reduction project that appeared to be in

                     25   progress along Lama Prieta Way. I observed several areas that had evidence of prior
    '\   ·~


                                                                     6 of40
               burning. This was evident from the blackened and burned material, lying on top of the

    ~.
    I .   2    soil, in a circular pattern. I observed a large windrow ofbrush piled approximately 8'
"
           3   high. It appeared the windrow was originally quite long, running the entire length of the

          4    span between two prominent hilltops. The middle portion of the windrow was gone, but

           5   some evidence of its prior existence was there. Smaller pieces of cut unburned fuel,

           6   along with the.brush pile burning remains. This was consistent with the burning of

          7    windrowed brush during a fuel reduction project. I walked to the top of the ridge and into

           8   the burned area. I observed the fire appeared to "creep" and just burn the lower part of

           9   the brush until it got on the downhill side of the ridge, Where is transitioned in to burning

          10   standing brush. I walked the edge of the burn and turned downhill, towards Summit

          11   Road. I noted the fire had burned the brush completely in this area. The area behind me

          12   had Jess damage. I noted a pine tree along the hand line, had angle of char and damage

          13   differential indicating the fire spread toward Summit Road. I walked across the burn to

    (     14   where I was at the top of the embankment, overlooking Summit Road. I continued to

          15   observe the macro indicators on the Manzanita brush, scrub oak brush, and trees. The

          16   indicators included angle of char and needle freeze. I continued walking in a counter

          17   clockwise circular pattern until I came back to the same spot, that I entered the burn. I

          18   reversed my direction and walked the same route in a clockwise direction. I met back up

          19   with PALlS I at the completion of my observation walk. I told PALlS! the burn

          20    indicators supported the fire spreading from the northeast corner of the burn, where there

          21   was evidence of low intensity burning. I told PALlS! to stay out of that area, because it

          22   would probably be the specific origin area. I told PALlS! the general origin area (GOA)

          23    encompassed an approximately 1-acre area below where we were standing. I instructed

          24    PALlS! to begin identifYing fire spread indicators within the GOA and mark the indicator

          25   . with a pin flag. The indicators were marked using the National Wildfire Coordination


                                                           7 of 40
                 Group (NWCG) standard. Red= Advancin1' Fire Spread, Yellow = Lateral Fire Spread,

,,;;;;up.   2    Blue= Backing Fire Spread, White= Evidence.
i       .

            3    I walked into the burn and proceeded to the edge of the burn near Summit Road. I began

            4    · working behind PALlS I, toward the heel of the fire. The burn area had evidence of

             5    sporadic burning; some areas had been completely cons\]med by fire, while others had

            6     incomplete burning. Others indicators, including white ash deposits, degree of damage,

            7     cupping where present.

            8     I contacted WARD after PALlS! was done interviewing him. WARD pointed out the

             9    pile near the spot that had the heavy black soot spot on the ground. The circular area had

            10    loose dirt piled on it. WARD stated again this was the spot he had observed the hot

            II    embers blowing from the morning of the Loma Fire. This was the same spot I had

            12    observed hot embers blowing from the night before. I again stirred the dirt up and found

            13    hot material underneath.

(           14    I continued my investigation, identifYing fire spread indicators. I found low intensity

            15    burning underneath the row of standing brush and followed it back out into the fuel

            16    reduction project. Directly in line with the burn pile remains that WARD had showed me

            17    I located an area oflow intensity burn. This burn area was consistent with the the fire

            18    WARD observed burning between the subject burn pile, and the standing brush. This

            19    area extended through the brush stand. The like fuel bed uphill from this spot contained

            20    duff, leaf litter, and small twigs. The burn here was low intensity, staining and sooting

            21    the rocks, and burning the brush stobbs. I determined this area to be the specific origin

            22    area (SOA). The SOA was approximately I 0' X 20" in size. I set up a lane grid and

            23    systematically searched the SOA. I used a magni:f)'ing glass to assist me in the search.

            24    used a magnet to search for ferrous ignition sources. I found none. The area had been

            25    subjected to winds over 15 mph, so it was disturbed. The SOA appeared to have several


                                                             8 of40
         areas of ignition, and was mostly low intensity fire. The fire spread was from this area, in

     2   to the standing brush. I found no ignition source in the SOA.

     3   At approximately 4:45 p.m., Investigator Dennis Johnson arrived at the origin area with

     4   his accelerant detection canine "Rosie" PALlS! and I briefed Johnson on the

     5   circumstances surrounding the fire and asked him to have Rosie search the area around

     6   the Specific Origin Area for ignitable liquids. Johnson deployed Rosie and searched the

     7   area. During the search, Rosie alerted at three different locations, including the area

     8   where the visible "sooty-hard baked" pattern was found. PALlS! took a soil sample and

     9   a control sample from SOA, at the points where Rosie aleiied. These samples were

    10   placed in metal evidence cans and transferred to Cal Fire Investigator Darren

    II   ·STEWART, who transpmied the samples to the Santa Clara County Crime Lab.

    12   We secured the scene and left security guard Anthony Lawrence overnight.

    13   On Tuesday October 27, 2009 at approximately 8:00a.m., PALlS! returned to the scene

(   14   and released the security guard. At approxirl)ately 8:30a.m., I met with PALlS!. I told

    15   PALlS! it was my intent to have another investigator respond to render a second opinion

    16   on the origin and cause of the fire. I told PALlS! him and I would continue the on site

    17   investigation and search for evidence. today, but to limit the amount of disturbance to the

    18   scene.

    19   On October 27, 2009, at approximately 8:45 a.m. Investigator MUSCHETIO

    20   interviewed Craig PONKEY on Lorna Prieta Way east of the Summit-Madonna Way

    21   intersection. This was the location PONKEY reported the Lorna incident from on

    22   October 25 1h. The following is a summary of his statement:

    23   PONKEY stated on October 25 1h between 2:30a.m. and 2:45 a.m. he was returning home

    24    from work and drove from Summit Road on to Lama Prieta Way. PONKEY said he

    25    driv.es this same way home from work five to six times a week at about the same time of


                                                     9 of40
               night, and also in the afternoon on his way to work around 2:45 p.m. PONKEY said as

c:;;;,.
I
          2    he drove up Lorna Prieta he saw sparks coming from a stump on the knoll above the road.

          3    He said he saw lumination under one of the bushes and called 911 to report a fire.

          4    PONKEY said he did not see any vehicles in the area while driving Summit Road to Mt.

          5    ]3ache Road to Lorna Prieta Way and onto Lorna Chiquita Way.

          6    PONKEY said he gave the dispatcher his location and told them which fire departments

          7    to send because he knew who was closest. He said the dispatcher told him not to tell

           8   them who to dispatch, just tell them where the fire is and it is their job to determine

           9   whom to dispatch. PONKEY said he feels if the dispatcher would have listened to him

          10   more, the fire would not have gotten as bad as it did.

          II   PONKEY said he called 911 from his vehicle and did not go up the hill to look at the fire.

          I2   After hanging up he drove home to get his gear, expecting to be paged out. He is a

          I3   volunteer firefighter at the Casa Lorna Volunteer Fire Department. He waited at home
(         I4   for about thirty minutes, did not get a page so he drove back to the fire. When he

          I5   returned he said the fire had grown to about four or five acres and had crossed Summit

          I6   Road. When asked later, he said he did not see the fire cross the road but based that

          17   statement on his observations from Lorna Chiquita Way, east of the fire. PONKEY said

          18   after seeing the fire he rah into his neighbor, Scott WEBSTER, who said he had also

          19   called in the fire. PONKEY then drove to the Casa Lorna Fire E)tation. He waited for the

          20   dispatch and other volunteers. PONKEY said it was around 4:00 a.m. when they were

          21   dispatched to the fire.

          22   PONKEY said he has observed Cal Fire crews cutting, pilil)g, and burning brush along

          23   the road. He has also observed two Cal Fire engines with a Cal Fire pickup burning

          24   brush also. He said he knows they have burned 'in the area where he saw the sparks and

          25   along the road east of that location. He said the fires seem to have gone out and it is not


                                                           10 of40
             common to see sparks from the piles but knows sometimes stumps or root balls are not

    ~   2    put out and can light up. He said he assumes that is what he saw the night he reported the

         3   fire. PONKEY said the last time he saw Cal Fire burning along Lorna Prieta Way was

        4    Tuesday (Oct. 20). PONKEY said he talked to Fire Captain Randy CASTRO. He said

         5   there were two engines and a pickup working. He said they were burning brush along the

        6    road east of the location where he reported the fire. He pointed to the remnants of the

        7    burn piles and they were more than 300 feet east of the location of the fire. PONKEY

         8   said he did not witness Cal Fire burning piles in the location where he saw the fire on

         9   October 25 but remembers seeing the remnants of burn piles in that area. He said piles in

        10   that location were burned the week after the big storm in October.· PONKEY said they

        II   . received about 14 inches of rain in the area from the .storm and the burning occurred after

        12   that. PONKEY said prior to the night of the fire he had not seen any sparks or

        13   smoldering from the burn piles. PONKEY said there has not been any recent fire activity

(       14    in the area,

        15    PONKEY also stated he was concerned with the 911 dispatch the night Gfthe fire. He

        16    said there was confusion when he first called in to report the fire.

        17    PONKEY said when he has observed Cal Fire burning before, they are responsible, they

        18    start smaller fires and feed them. He said he usually sees an engine close by with water,

        19    and people staffing the piles. He has not seen them burning in a negligent fashion.

        20    On the night of the fire, PONKEY estimated the winds were blowing forty miles an hour

        21    or more from the northeast to the southwest.

        22    At approximately 2:45p.m., Investigators GORDON and MUSCHETTO contacted Cal

        23    Fire Captain Albert GOMEZ. GOMEZ was one of several Fire Crew Captains

        24    conducting burning on the PL566 project, prior to the Lorna Fire igniting.


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                                                          II of 40
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                  GOMEZ stated he has been assigned to the Cal Fire Ben Lomond Inmate Fire Camp for

"       ~·   2    the last 9 years. GOMEZ has worked the PL566 project numerous times during his

             3    assignment at Ben Lomond. GOMEZ stated the standard procedure for working the

             4    PL566 project is io cut the brush parallel to the road, stack the brush off the roadway,

              5 . bum it later. GOMEZ stated the Monterey Bay Air Pollution Control Board regulates the

             6    burning. GOMEZ stated the standard procedure is to advise the Cal Fire Felton

             7    Emergency Command Center (ECC) that burning is going to take place and also contact

              8   the Santa Clara ECC and advise them of the same thing. GOMEZ stated the burning of

              9   piles is only allowed if it is a permissive burn day in both Santa Clara County and Santa

             10   Cruz County. GOMEZ stated Captain Randy CASTRO from the Cal Fire Santa Clara

             11   Unit is the project coordinator and directs the Ben Lomond Crews where to conduct the

             12   brush cutting. GOMEZ stated brush cutting is conducted year around, but the burning is

             13   only done in the winter. GOMEZ stated when he conducts burning; he chooses a pile and
    /
    (,       14   scrapes a 10' wide line around the pile to bare mineral soil. GOMEZ stated when he

             15   conducts burning he has the entire crew working on burning several piles in the area. No

             16   brush cutting takes place when brush pile burning in being done. GOMEZ stated his

             17   procedure is to break the windrow of brush into sections, ignite a pile, and then feed the

             18   fire from the windrow. That way an entire windrow of brush is not burned at one time,

             19   This keeps the fire more manageable. GOMEZ stated he typically would establish a

             20    JO'x!O' or 10'x20' pile to burn and continue feeding with unburned brush. GOMEZ also

             21   establishes two lookouts to watch for spot fires. GOMEZ receives his instructions on

             22   where to bum or where to cut from the Ben Lomond Camp Administrative Captain, who

             23   receives his information from Randy CASTRO. GOMEZ stated he usually stops burning

             24   between I :00 p.m. and I :30 p.m. The brush is so dead and dry, it burns fast. GOMEZ

             25   stated typically the crews do not receive any support from engines during the burning.
    (
    ·~

                                                             12 of 40
                         However, he recalled that one day this year there was an engine assigned to the project.

~·                 2     GOMEZ stated the crews do not carry water for fire suppression or mop up on the crew

                    3    bus; GOMEZ stated when he leaves a bum pile for the day he ensures there are no

                    4    smokes and there is a line constructed a.round the pile. GOMEZ stated after the pile

                    5    burns down and prior to leaving, he has his crew "stir it up- put it back together- if it is

                   6     real windy like it has been, "I will put dirt over it". (GOMEZ is referring to the practice

                    7.   of\lsing hand tools to mix the burned material and ash with dirt to cool it off). This also

                    8    brings hot material at the bottom of the pile to the top, so it cools off by being exposed to

                    9    air. The practice ofputtirig dirt on top of the burned material helps keep the hot material

                   10    from blowing away with the wind. GOMEZ stated the last time he worked on the PL566

                   II    project was Wednesday October 21, 2009, and be conducted burning on Lorna Prieta

                   12    Peak, near the radio repeater towers. GOMEZ stated on October 16, 2009 he burned

                   13    several piles near the corner ofMt. Madonna Way the Summit Road. GOMEZ described
J
I                  14    burning thrcepilcs above the road, south of the "Green Mid-Pen gate". GOMEZ stated
'
                   15    the piles be burned were in the same area currently flagged off by investigators at the heel

                   16    of the Lorna Fire. GOMEZ stated on October 16, he burned until approximately 1:30

                   17    p.m. or 1:45 p.m., at which time he ceased burning. GOMEZ directed his crew to stir up

                   18    the burned material. GOMEZ stated prior to leaving, he directed his crew to pile dirt on

                   19.   top of the pile. GOMEZ checked the pile physically and found no hot material GOMEZ

                   20    felt the fire was completely out and left the area. GOMEZ stated he returned on October

                   21    ·21, 2009 to the same location. GOMEZ intended to conduct burning operations again at

                   22    the same spot. GOMEZ talked with Cal Fire Captain ADAMS who told him to come up

                   23    to the repeater site to conduct burning operations on the brush piles there. GOMEZ

                   24    agreed. Before GOMEZ drove to the repeater site, he checked the piles from October 16

                   25    and deterinined they were "colder then cold". GOMEZ stated he began burning at the

    L~-
    -..;___~..--



                                                                    13of40
         repeater site. GOMEZ stated the piles were the largest he had ever burned. The piles

~    2   burned fast and the crews were done by approximately I :30 p.m. GOMEZ contacted
I
     3   CASTRO by phone and ask where the engine was that was supposed to be supporting

     4   them. CASTRO stated the engine was up at the project site and it. was Engine 1663 with

     5   Captain KERSTEINS. After the phone call, GOMEZ saw smoke coming up near the

     6   intersection of Mount Madonna and Summit Road and determined the engine was

     7   conducting their own burning operation. GOMEZ contacted the engine and requested

     8   them respond to the repeater site to assist with mop up of the burn piles. GOMEZ stated

     9   the engine arrived at the repeater site approximately 30minutes later. GOMEZ spoke to

    10   Captain KERSTEINS. KERSTEINS told GOMEZ he had limited water left on the

    11   engine, and he needed the water to extinguish the piles he had already burned. GOMEZ

    12   stated he told KERSTEINS he thought the piles at the repeater site needed to be

    13   extinguished with water. GOMEZ stated KERSTEINS told him he (KERSTEINS) would

(   !4   take responsibility for the piles if they escaped. GOMEZ stated he used some water from

    15   the engine to assist in the extinguishment of the brush plle he burned, as did Captain

    16   ADAMS and Captain HARRIS, who burned other piles at the repeater site. GOMEZ

    17   stated later that day he spoke to Captain CASTRO who told him not to conduct any more

    18   burning on the PL566 project due to the dry conditions.

    19   Immediately after interviewing GOMEZ, Investigator GORDON and Investigator

    20   MUSCHETTO interviewed Fire Captain Mike HARRIS, at the Loma Incident base

    21   Camp. HARRIS was advised of his right to have a Union Representative present for the

    22   interview. HARRIS verbally waived his right to representation. The following is a

    23   summary of HARRIS' statement:

    24   HARRIS said the work the Ben Lomond crews conduct in the area where the Lorna

    25   Incident occurred is part of the PL-566 project. He said this project has been going on for


                                                    14 of 40
"
                  decades and the crews cut and burn brush in various locations. He said the project is

"   p.       2    coordinated through the Cal Fire Santa Clara Unit and the project coordinator is Fire

              3   Captain Randy CASTRO. He said the crews cut brush year-round and burn when burn

              4   season opens. He says burning is coordinated through the project coordinator. HARRJS

              5   said the project is on the border of Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties so they let both

              6   Unit ECC's know when they are burning. HARRlS also said they have meetings with

              7   Fire Captain CASTRO to discuss their progress and get directions on where to work. He

              8   said CASTRO periodically visits the project to check their work. HARRlS said when he

              9   burns on the project he'll find.an open, flat spot for a pile and start a smaller pile and feed

             10   brush from the larger piles created during cutting. He said they typically burn one or two

             11   piles at a time. HARRIS said occasionally an engine would come out while they are

             12   burning to help and to mop up. HARRlS said they would feed the burn pile until about

             13   noon and then stop and let the pile burn down until 2:00 or 3:00 p.m. After the piles burn

    (        14   down they start mopping them up which includes ensuring a line is scraped around them

             15   and turning them over. If an engine is there, they will use water. They typically leave for

             16   the day around 4:00p.m. He said if there is not an engine to help mop up the crew will

             17   stay until the burn pile is out and not leave it hot.

             18   HARRIS said the project coordinator calls the camp and lets the administration captain

             19   know they can burn and the crew captains are told when they can start burning. He said

             20   mi Wednesday (Oct. 21) the project coordinator called the camp and told them to stop

             21   burning on the project after that day and may have sent an email. HARRIS said the

             22   project coordinator obtains the necessary burn permits for the project. HARRlS said on

             23   October 15th he burned a small pile along.Loma Prieta Way about a thousand feet up the

             24   road from the gate. He said another crew (Wade) was burning higher up the road towards

             25   the peak. HARRIS said he also burned on October 21st and that was up on Loma Prieta
    \
    ~   ..
                                                               15 of 40
         peak. He said on that day Engine 1663 was with them. HARRlS said the last time he

~    2   drove Lorna Prieta Way was on October 21. He said when they left that day he did not
\
     3   see any smoking or smoldering piles. He did not know when the piles closest tci the gate

    4    were burned. He believes October 15 was the first day they were allowed to burn.

     5   HARRlS said when burning is done they .normally use drip torch fuel to start fire but

     6   don't need much. He said on October 21 all three crews were burning on Lorna Prieta

     7   peak and an engine company burned on the road.

     8   At approximately 7:00p.m., PALlS! and I finished our on site investigation for the day.

     9   We turned the scene over to security guard Anthony Lawrence.

    10   On October 28, 2009 at approximate.ly 8:00a.m, PALlS! returned to the scene and

    II   relieved Lawrence. I arrived at approximately I 0:30 a.m. with Investigator Gary

    12   WHITE. I briefed WHITE on the observations of the first arriving company officer, and

    13   the initial weather conditions at the fire . .I had already removed the pin flags. I asked

(   14   WHITE to work the scene and render a second opinion on the origin of the fire and a

    15   cause, if he could determine one. I assigned PALISI to work with WHITE and assist him

    16   in whatever he needed.

    17    At approximately 9;00 a.m., I met with Division Chief Rich SAMPSON. SAMPSON

    18   gave me an email he had received from Battalion Chief Ron HART the day before.

    19   SAMPSON explained that HART had approved and signed two Cal Fire burn permits to

    20   be issued by the Burrell Fire Station while he was on vacation. When HART returned, he

    21   found one of the signed permits had been issued to the PL-566 project, by Fire Captain

    22   AI GOMEZ. GOMEZ, who is usually assigned to Ben Lomond Camp, was working as

    23   overtime shift covering the Burrell Station. SAMPSON stated this was unusual because

    24   the PL-566 project was administered out of Santa Clara County, not Santa Cruz County.




                                                     16 of 40
         On October 28, 2009 at approximate y 10:37 a.m., Investigator GORDON and

    2    Investigator MUSCHETTO interviewed Fire Captain Kenneth GILBERT. GILBERT is

     3   assigned as a Fire Crew Captain at Ben Lomond Conservation Camp. GILBERT

     4   previously worked at Ben Lomond Camp from 1996 until 2000, and then retired from

     5   state service. GILBERT reinstated in April of2009 to Ben Lomond. GILBERT stated

     6   he has never burned on the PL-566 project, since returning to in April of2009.

     7   GILBERT stated he has been assigned to cut brush on the project several times.

     8   GILBERT believed the captains at Ben Lomond camp made the decision to begin

     9   burning after the recent rain. GILJ?ERT produced the log from Ben Lomond camp. The

    10   log had an entry on October 21, 2009 at 7:00p.m. that stated Fire Captain Randy

    11   CASTRO had called and suspended all burning on the PL566 project. GILBERT stated

    12   he last worked on the project on October 21, 2009. GILBERT only cut brush that day

    13   and did not burn. GILBERT did not see any smoking piles on the project that day.

(   14   On Wednesday October 28, 2009 at approximately 1:30 p.m., J began checking the

    15   remains of burn piles along Lorna Prieta Way between the origin of the Lorna Fire and

    16   the repeater towers on Lorna Prieta Peale. Investigator Simmons and I used a

    17   thermometer to check for hot material in the piLe remains. Through numerous interviews,

    18   we had determined there were several piles burned along Loma Prieta Way, between

    19   October 16 and October 21. We worked along the road, checking the remains of

    20   approximately 10 piles. We drove up the access road to the radio repeater site. There I

    21   met with Investigators MUSCHETTO and GORDON. I instructed both of them to scout

    22   around the repeater site and locate any remains of burn piles. GOMEZ had stated during

    23   his interview that on October 21, three of the Ben Lomond crews had burned at that

    24   location. At approximately 2:30 p.m., GORDON contacted me and stated he had found

    25   the remains of a pile between one of the radio vault buildings, and the access road. I


                                                   17of40
         walked to this area and found GORDON. I observed the burned remains of a brush pile.

    2    The pile was 20'x60' in size. I observed several spots inside this burned area were

    3    actively smoking. The burn area had several places of white puffy ash; this was

    4    consistent with water not being used in extinguishment. I noticed a piece of%" fire hose

    5    lying on the ground near the access road and the edge of the burn. The burned remains

    6    consisted of organic materiar, several burned logs over 6" in diameter, and root balls. I

    7    also saw several pieces of raw construction lumber burned. While inspecting the burned

     8   area I observed open flame burning in the organic material. I requested a fire engine

    9    respond to the site to extinguish the fire. I used a therriwmeter to check. several spots in

    IO   the burn. I found one area that measured 366 degrees F. I photographed the area and left

    II   the scene at approximately 4:00 p.m. I returned to the origin area and checked on

    I2   WHITES progress. WHITE stated he would not finish by this evening and would need to

    13   return the following day to complete his fieldwork. WHITE and PALISI used handtools

(   !4   to pull the subject burn pile a part layer by layer. WHITE recorded temperature reading

    I5   between 400 degrees F. and 900 degrees F. At approximately 6:00 pI arrived at
                                            J


    I6   approximately 10:30 a.m. with Investigator Gary WHITE. I briefed WHITE on the

    I7   observations of the first arriving company officer, and the initial weather conditions at the

    I8   fire. I had already removed the pin flags. I asked WHITE to work the scene and render a

    I9   second opinion on the origin ofthe fire and a cause, if he could dete1mine one. I assigned

    20   PALISI to work with WHITE and assist him in whatever he needed.

    2I   .m, PALISI turned over the origin to Cal Fire Engine 1762. Engine 1762 remained over

    22   night, securing the origin.

    23

    24   On Thursday October 29, 2009 at approximately 8:00a.m., PALISI returned to the scene

    25   and relieved Engine 1762. Investigator G. WHITE continued with his investigation.


                                                     I8of40
         On Thursday October 29, 2009 at approximately 1:51 p.m., I conducted an interview with

    2    Cal Fire Battalion Chief Darrell WOLF at Santa Clara Headquarters. WOLF was.

    3    accompanied by Ken HALE, CDF Firefighters Union Representative. WOLF stated the

    4    following in summary. WOLF is assigned to the Santa Clara Unit as a field Battalion

     5   Chief, supervising the Alrt1a Battalion #3. The Lorna Fire occurred within the

     6   geographical boundaries of Battalion 3. On October 25, 2009 at approximately 3:30a.m.,

     7   WOLF was contacted by the Santa Clara ECC. WOLF was notified there was a two to

     8   three acre wildfire burning on the PL-566 project near Summit Road. WOLF responded ·

     9   from Morgan Hill Headquarters and drove up through Casa Lorna. WOLF was the first

    10   arriving chief officer. WOLF observed a "wind driven" fire burning "down in to the

    11   canyon". After Wolf determined ihe fire was burning with in the Santa Cruz Unit, a

    12   decision was made to transfer the management of the fire to Santa Cruz. Wolf assumed

    13   the "operations".role working for a Santa Cruz Incident Commander. WOLF transmitted

(   14   a radio message on the way to the fire to "be on the lookout" for a white "dually" pick-

    15   up. WOLF ki1ew the person charged with starting the" Summit" fire in 2008 drove a

    16   white dually pick-up. This person, known to WOLF as Channing YERDON. On

    17   October 24, 2009, WOLF was supervising roadwork on Lorna Chiquita Road. WOLF

    18   was notified of a residence having large piles of brush in the 3000 block of Lorna

    19   Chiquita. WOLF drove to that location and contacted an adult male sitting on the tailgate

    20   of a white dually pick-up truck. This person verbally indentified himself as Channing

    21   VERDON, and said he was the person Cal Fire was charging with starting the "Summit

    22   Fire". (The Summit Fire occurred in May of2008, and burned just south of the Lorna

    23   Fire off Summit Road). WOLF observed several large piles of brush on the property and

    24   asked how the piles were going to be disposed of. VERDON replied he thought they

    25   were going to be burned. WOLF was approached by another gentleman who identified


                                                   19of40
          himself as· the property owner. WOLF told both men of the burn permit requirements in

    2     Santa Clara County. VERNDON asked WOLF why they needed permits when Cal Fire

    3     had been burning in the area all week. WOLF stated they had the necessary permits to

    4     conduct burning, and were burning in support of a fuel reduction project. VERDON

     5    stated, "I sure hClpe one of your piles doesn't escape tonight". WOLF stated he

    6     remembered that comment while responding to the fire. There was no burning conducted

    7     by Cal Fire on October24, 2008 on the PL-566 project. WOLF stated if there was any·

     8    burning conducted on October 22 or 23, he might have not known about it. WOLF was

     9    in the area on the afternoon of October 21, 2009 and met with Cal Fire Captain

    10    KERSTErNS at Lorna Chiquita Peak. WOLF was with Cal Fire Captain Randy

    II    CASTRO. WOLF drove up to the peak to check the piles the crews had burned prior in

    12    the day. WOLF found several hot spots in the burn and extinguished them using a hose

    13    line that was left there. WOLF rolled up the hose and drove down to Lorna Chiquita

(   14    Rottd and Loma Prieta Way and met with KERSTEINS. WOLF discussed the burning

    I5    conditions with CASTRO and KERSTEINS. WOLF decided to stop all burning due to

    16    the dry co)1ditions. WOLF developed an operating plan for conducting the burning

    17    operations on the PL-566 project. The plan was updated in August 3, 2009. The plan

    18    contains the notification and approval procedure for conducting burning. The procedure

    19    includes notifying both Emergency Command Centers in Morgan Hill and Felton.

    20    Generally, there is no burning conducted in the summer or fire season. WOLF approved

    21    burning on Monday October 19,2009 after consulting the Santa Clara Duty Chief. Any

    22    burning that took place prior to that was not approved by WOLF. WOLF visually

    23    checked the area from his vehicle when he was out there on Friday October 23, 2009.

    24    WOLF did not get out of his vehicle and physically check the piles. He did not see any

    25'   smoking material. Copter 106 was conducting training on October 24,.2009 in the area


                                                    20 of 40
             of Ormsby Cutoff and Summit Road. The copter did not report seeing any smokes. The

    .
             piles near the   I'' tum east of the origin of the Lorna Fire were burned on Tuesday October
~
        2

        3    20, 2009. Those piles were burned by CASTRO and SAKUMOTO on two different

        4    days. WOLF was not aware of the burning that had taken place along the ridge where the

         5   origin of the Lorna Fire started. WOLF issued the permit to begin burning on Monday

         6   October 19, 2009. This was after GOMEZ burned the piles near the origin on October

         7   16,2009. CASTRO told WOLF he faxed in the project burn requestto air quality

        8    management either on Sunday night October 18, or Monday October 19. The LE-5 bum

         9   permit and burn request to air quality were necessary to burn during the burn ban. Wolf

        10   restated he only authorized burning from October 19 to October 21,2009. WOLF also

        11   stated that CASTRO had taken an engine up to the PL-566 project on Tuesday and found

        12   a pile smoldering that had been buried. The pile was not one of the one's the engine's

        13   had burned on Monday. I terminated the interview at 2:31p.m.
/


(       14   On Thursday October 29, 2009 at approximately 3:0 I p.m., I conducted an interview with

        15   Cal Fire Captain Randy CASTRO. The interview took place at the Cal Fire Santa Clara

        16   Headquarters Office. Also in attendance was Ken HALE, from the CDF Firefighters

        17   Union. CASTRO stated the following in summary: CASTRO is assigned to the CAL

        18   Fire Stevens Creek Fire Station. His duties include supervising the PL-566 project.

        19   CASTRO was assigned to burn piles with Engine 1663 on Tuesday October 20, 2009.

        20   CASTRO responded back to the area during the early evening hours of October 20, 2009

        21   for a smoke check. He located a smoking pile off Lorna Prieta, between the first

        22   guardrail and the turnoff to Loma Prieta Peak. This pile was not one that CASTRO had

        23   burned that day. CASTRO did not know when the piles above the first guardrail were

        24   burned. CASTRO did not receive authorization to begin burning until October 19, 2009

        25   from Chief WOLF. CASTRO called Ben Lomond Camp on Wednesday October 21,


                                                         21 of 40
"
                  2009 and notified them to discontinue any burning. CASTRO and WOLF had both

"   p        2.   agreed it was to dry to continue burning. On October 19, 20Q9, the conditions were wet

             3    and the piles were ignited by using drip torches. CASTRO did not know burning had

            4     taking place in the area near the origin of the Lorna Fire. The interview end at

             5    approximately 3:11p.m. I also reviewed the written management plan for the PL-566

             6    project The written plan was authored by WOLF and CASTRO.

             7    Page 13 specifically calls for the following:

             8    *No piles bigger than 10' in diameter

             9    *Do not leave piles unattended and if you are unsure make them dead out before you

            10    * lel)ve.   We expect zero pile escapes.

            II    At approximately 5:00p.m., I reviewed the daily c~ew status report from Ben Lomond

            12    Camp. The crew reports covered the period from October 14 through October 23, 2009.

            13    October 14, 2009. The following were the commitments to the PL-566 project.
    (       14    October 14, 2009:        No crews.
    \



            15    October 15, 2009:

            16    Crew I - FC WADE

            17    Crew 2 - FC HARRIS

            18    October 16, 2009:

            19    Crew 2- GOMEZ

            20    October 19,2009:

            21    No crews

            22    October 20, 2009:

            23    No Crews

            24    October 21, 2009:

            25    Crew 2 - FC GOMEZ

        ~
                                                             22 of40
          . Crew 3 - PC HARRIS

~~   2     Crew 4- PC ADAMS
I
     3     October 22, 2009:

     4     No Crews

     5     October 23, 2009:

     6     Crew I -PC Gilbert

     7     Crew 2 - PC KASKA

      8    Crew 3 - FC ADAMS

      9    On October 29, 2009, at approximately II :00 a.m. Cal Fire Battalion Chief Don
     10    GORDON and Investigator MUSCHETTO interviewed Scott WEBSTER on Lorna Prieta
     11    Way at the Madonna/Summit Road intersection, WEBSTER was a reporting party to the
     12    Lorna Fire. The following is a summary of his statement:
     13    WEBSTER said on the night of the fire he and Elizabeth VATERT were driving home
     14    from Soquel on Lorna Prieta Way around 3:30a.m. He was in the passenger seat. He
     15    said as they approached the intersection ofMt. Madonna/Summit Roads he could see the
'
I
\    16    fire and it looked like it might be on both sides of the road, as he pointed up Lorna Prieta
     17    Way. He said the fire was about an acre in size and pointed on the hill between Lorna
     18    Prieta Way and Mt. Madonna/Summit Road. He said the fire was in Santa Clara County
     19    and blowing towards Santa Cruz County so he called both Felton and Morgan Hill. They
     20    drove past the fire and parked on the hill east of the fire and watched. WEBSTER·als.o
     21    took photos of the fire. WEBSTER said while there, his neighbor, Craig Pankey, drove
     22    up and told them he had repmted the fire earlier. WEBSTER said dispatchers told him
     23    somebody else had reported the fire but gave them wrong directions.
     24    I had WEBSTER walk us east on Lama Prieta Way to describe what he saw. WEBSTER
     25    walked us to the first guardrail east of the gate. Along the way, he said he could see fire
     26    on the knob above the road. WEBSTER said he's seen Ben Lomond crews cutting brush
     27    along the road, but saw engine companies burning along the road Tuesday (Oct. 20) and
     28    Wednesday (Oct 21) and pointed towards the first guardrail east of the gate. He said he
     29    talked to them about burn season since they had thiiteen inches of rain in the area.
     30    WEBSTER pointed to the area where he saw them burning and said that is where he saw
     31    the fire and repmted it. WEBSTER said his first impression was it was an escaped
                                                      23 of 40.
          control burn. He led us to the guardrail saying that is where he saw the fire the morning
      2   of the 25 1 WEBSTER looked around the area of the guardrail and saw that nothing in
                    h.

      3   the area had burned. There were still piles of cut, unburned brush in the area. The area
      4   he led us to was more than 300 feet east of the fire. WEBSTER led us up the hill on the
      5   south side of the Way looking for the fire. As we walked up the hill WEBSTER said if it
      6   escaped from down there, this should have all been burned, as he pointed back to where
      7   he saw the engine company burning. WEBSTER continued to lead us west towards the
      8   gate on Lorna Prieta Way looking for the area be saw burning the morning of Oct. 25.
      9   WEBSTER said the fire was definitely burning on knob above the Way. He remembered
     10   a tree on fire but wondered why there was unburned brush where he thought there was
     II   fire. He remembered seeing open flame but did not know why so much was unburned.
     12   At this point, we were walking near the specific origin area of the fire. WEBSTER
     13   continued to lead us west and looked for the burning tree he remembered. He pointed to
     14   a knob cone pine within the fire and said that must have been the one he saw.
     15   WEBSTER said they watch$ld the .fire until shortly after the first engine arrived. They
     16   had driven up from Soquel returning from a birthday party when they saw the fire.
     17   WEBSTER did not remember seeing any vehicles or people in the area as they drove up
     18   Summit Road towards Loma Prieta Way. WEBSTER sitid it was about 3:45a.m. when
     19   PONKEY drove up and told him he could not understand why the volunteers had not
     20   been sent out. WEBSTER said be drives Lorna Prieta Way two or three times a week at
     21   various times of the day. He pointed out the area again where he saw engine companies
     22   burning. He pointed from the guardrail to and area about 300 feet north of the guardrail.
     23   This was in the opposite direction of where the fire occurred. WEBSTER was not sure
     24   but thought hand crews were working along Lorna Prieta Way in the area where the fire
     25   occurred the week after the large storm. He did not see the hand crews burning, just
     26   cutting brush and only remembers the engine companies burning and that was east of the
     27   first guardrail. WEBSTER said he has not seen any of the burn piles smoldering or
     28   smoking while unattended prior to the fire. WEBSTER said about 5:30 to 6:00p.m. he
     29   and VATERT drove down Loma Prieta Way to Soquel and he did not see anyone in the
     30   area or any piles smoking or smoldering. He said about noon that day (Oct. 24) he talked
     31   to Cal Fire Battalion Chief Darryl WOLF on Lorna Chiquita Way about one mile east of
     32   Loma Prieta Way. He said WOLF was there with an equipment operator replacing a
     33   culvert. WEBSTER said they were gone when he went to Soquel with VATERT.
\~   34   WEBSTER said while on his way to Soquel there was a breeze in the area but not heavy·
                                                    24 of 40
         wind. WEBSTER was still looking around the area near the specific origin area and said
     2   he was under the impression that whole area was on fire, but now saw it was unburned.
     3   WEBSTER said WOLF told him that the subject arrested for causing the Summit Fire
     4   told him earlier that day (Oct. 24), I hope you do not get another escape control burn.
     5   WEBSTER again looked around near the specific origin area and asked if Cal Fire had
     6   burned in that area. He then walked us back to the guardrail to help remember what he .
     7   saw. He estimated while watching the fire the winds were fifteen to twenty miles out of
     8   the northeast. He again showed us where the engine companies were burning from the
     9   guardrail to the nmtheast on Tuesday (Oct. 20) and was not sure if he saw a hand crew
    10   the next day. As we walked west towards the Mt. Madonna/Summit Road intersection
    II   WEBSTER pointed towards the specific origin area and said the thought that was the area
    12   he saw burning.
    13   At approximately 12:10 p.m., Investigators GORDON a!ld MUSCHETTO contacted Fire

    14   Captain Kelly O'KEEFE at the intersection ofLoma Prieta Way and Mt. Madonna-

    15   Summit Road. O'KEEFE was the first arriving company officer at the fire. O'KEEFE

    16   stated he came on duty at the Burrell Forest Fire Station at approximat,ely II :00 a.m. on
(   17   October 24,2009. O'KEEFE was not normally assigned to that station. O'KEEFE stated

    18   at approximately 2:00a.m: on October 25, he was dispatched to a reported smoke check

    19   at Lama Prieta Way and Summit Road. He drove to that area, checked for smoke, and

    20   found none. At approximately 3:30a.m., he was sent to the area ofMt. Madonna Way

    21   and Lorna Prieta Way. O'KEEFE observed a fire burning on top of the ridge and

    22   spreading to the southwest. O'KEEFE stated the wind was keeping the smoke near the

    23   ground. Immediately after his arrival, the fire spotted on the west side of Summit Road.

    24   The fire burning on both sides of Summit Road precluded him from safely attacking the

    25   fire. O'KEEFE observed a charcoal; color crew cab Ford pick-up driving around the area

    26   upon his arrival.

    27   Investigator GORDON also interviewed Firefighter SUAREZ and Firefighter

    28   CUNNINGHAM. Both firefighters were on Engine 1768 at the time of the fire. Both


                                                    25 of 40
          confirmed O'KEEFE's account of the fire. CUNNINGHAM stated there are three

    2     different Ways in their response area that have the name "Lorna Prieta" in them.

    3     CUNNINGHAM stated when they received the second dispatch as Mt. Madonna-Summit

    4     Road and Lorna Prieta Way; they proceeded to that location and found the fire.

    5     At approximately I :43 p.m., Investigator MUSCHETTO and GORDON contacted Joe

    6     WADDLE at his residence on Mt. Madonna-Summit Road. WADDLE stated on October

    7     23,2009 at approximately 5:15p.m., he was driving home from Highway 17 when he

     8    noticed some smoke in the area ofMt. Madonna-Summit Road. He described the smoke

     9·   as being "a couple of hundred yards from the split". (This would be the same area that

    10    GOMEZ burned on October 16, 2009). He further described the smoke as "gently rising,

    11    rolling up, and not increasing in size". The smoke was white in color. WADDLE stated

    12    he did not report the smoke because he though they were coming off the burn piles that

    13    ·belonged to Cal Fire. (I can find no evidence there was any burning done on October23.

{   14    This was after the burning was suspended on October 21,2009.

    15     At approximately 2:00p.m., Investigator GORDON interviewed Prapaporn PITTROFF.

    16    PITTROFF stated the following in summary. PITTROFF drives by the intersection of

    17    Mt. Madonna-Summitt Way and Lama Preita Way on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays.

    18    She usually drives by twice on those days to and fi·om work. She observed Cal Fire

    19    crews cutting brush and burning in the past few weeks. She drove by the intersection on

    20    October 23 and October 24, and did not see or smell any smoke.

    21    At approximately 6:00p.m., Investigator WHITE completed his required scene work.

    22    The origin was released. No scene security was provided that night.

    23     At approximately 7:00p.m., Investigator MUSCHETTO conducted a telephone interview

    24     with Allie PONKEY. The following is a summary of her statement:




                                                    26 of40
          A. PONKEY said she. drives on Lorna Prieta Way through the area where Cal Fire has

     2    been burning several times a week. She said she normally drives through about 7:30 a.m.

     3    and returns home around 9:00 p.m. She has not seen Cal Fire working recently but

     4    knows they cut and burn brush along the Ways. A. PONKEY said on Tuesday (Oct. 20)

     5    she was returning home late in the evening from Summit Road to Lorna Prieta Way and

     6    down Lorna Chiquita Way. She said it was after dark and maybe as late as 9:00p.m. She

     7    said while driving on Summit Road near Lorna Prieta Way somebody was tailgating her

     8    so she let them pass. She said a white pickup passed her and drove up Lorna Prieta Way.

     9    She said the pickup drove through the gate at the Madonna Mt/Summit Road intersection,

    10    and past the first guardrail. She said somewhere between the guardrail and Lorna

    II    Chiquita Way the pickup pulled over. She saw that the pickup said CDF on the side. She

    12    also saw a fire on the uphill side of the Way that was about two feet around. A.

    13    PONKEY said as she drove past someone was getting out of the pickup and it looked like
/
(   14    they were going to put out the fire. She said the fire was in the area where piles had been

    15    bur.ned within the last month. She said she did not see who burned the piles but assumed

    16    it was Cal Fire.

    .17   On Friday October 30, 2009, Investigator Dale KINYON contacted and interviewed Cal

    18    Fire Fire Captain Kasper SAKAMOTO. SAKAMOTO told KINYON he was the

    19    company officer on Engine 1673 on October 20, 2009 and assigned to burn slash piles on

    20    .the PL-566 project. SAKAMOTO stated he arrived at the site at approximately 11:00

    21    a.m. SAKAMOTO sated he was working near the new guardrail, east of the origin of the

    22    Lorna Fire, SAKAMOTO stated he had to .use a drip torch to ignite the piles.

    23    SAKAMOTO continued burning until approximately 3:00p.m., at which time he let the

    24    piles burn the remaining material. SAKAMOTO stated he mopped up the piles and left




                                                    27 of 40
         the area at approximately 6:30p.m. SAKAMOTO left the area and did not see any piles

~    2   smoking.
I

     3   At approximately 1:00 p.m., Investigator GORDON and INVESTIGATOR

     4   MUSCHETTO contacted Frank DIDO at his residence .. DIDO had been giving accounts

     5   to the media about seeing burn piles smoldering and burning along Lorna Prieta Way.

     6   DIDO refused to speak with GORDON and MUSCHETTO. MUSCHETTO left DIDO a

     7   business card and asked him to make contact when he wanted to speak with Cal Fire.

     8   At approximately 3:09p.m., Investigator GORDON and Investigator MUSCHETTO

     9   interviewed Jennifer GARNER. GARNER stated the following in summary: GARNER

    10   lives on Lorna Chiquita Way and drives Lorna Prieta during the week taking her children

    11   to school. GARNER recalled seeing Cal Fire crews working along Lorna Prieta Way

    12   between the Mid-Pen Gate and Lorna Chiquita Way. She said the crew activity has

    13   been occurring for the past month. She said crews were clearing during the fi.rst

(   14   two weeks of the month. She said crews started buming in the last week and a

    15   half to two weeks. She said she saw smoldering piles on the inside corner at the first

    16   guardrail east of the Mid-Pen gate at the Summit/Mt. Madonna split. She

    17   said she saw the unattended burn pile smoldering between 3:30P.M. and 5:00

    18   P.M. She said she saw engines present in the area of the pavement with all the

    19   pot holes on 10124/09 at approximately 11:30 A.M. She said she returned fi·om

    20   Los Gatos on 10/24/09 at approximately 4:30 to 5:30P.M. and did not recall

    21   seeing any smoldering burn piles. On 10/25/09, GARNER said she saw an unattended

    22   burn pile burning at the "new guardrail" at the intersection of Loma

    23   Chiquita Way and Lama Prieta Way (the Way up to Lorna Prieta Peale). She

    24   said she saw this when she was returning from watching the fire with Chief Rich

    25   SAMPSON. (She met with Rich SAMPSON on October 25, 2009).


                                                   28 of 40
         KASKA stated he has worked at Ben Lomond Camp a little more than a year and he is

    2    the Captain for Crew 2. KASKA said he has not burned piles on the PL-566 project since

    3    last winter and did not burn after the recent storm. KASKA said Thursday (Oct. 15) the

    4    Captains at camp were asking and talked about starting to burn on the PL-566 project.

     5   KASKA did not know if anyone contacted the Santa Clara Unit to ask about burning on

     6   the project. He also does not know when the crews actually started burning. KASKA

     7   said on October 15 1h he and two other crews were assigned to the PL-566 project and it

     8   was undecided if they were going to burn. He .said on the way to the project his crew was

     9   diverted to another project and he does not know if the other crews burned that day.

    10   KASKA said the last time he workeo on the PL-566 was Friday October 23'd. He worked

    11   with two other crews that day. He said all three crews cut brush along the road north of

    12   Lorna Chiquita Way, below the towers. He said none of the crews burned that day and he

    13   does not know if any engine companies burned on the project. KASKA drove Lorna

(   14   Prieta Way that day and did nol see any smoke from piles.

    15   KASKA said his crew cut the brush aloi1g Lorna Prieta Way near the Lorna Incident. .He

    16   said the brush has been cut within the last few months. He said the piles (near SOA)

    17   looked like they burned clean. KASKA said in the area where the fire occurred had a lot

    18   ofbrush burned. He said in that area therewere two rows of cut brush piles.

    19   KASKA said nobody ever went through the written PL-566 project with him but he has

    20   read it. He has a binder in the crew bus that has project information. He mostly learned

    21   about the project by taking the crew out with other Captains.

    22   KASKA said when he burns on the project he will either burn a section of brush that has

    23   been piled in rows or start a smaller pile and feed it with brush from the larger piles. The

    24   crew scrapes a line around piles and they let it burn down as long as they can before they

    25   leave and will sometimes cover the burned pile with dili. He knows the pile is hot under


                                                   29 of 40
           the dirt but looks to make sure there is no smoke and leaves it so wind will not blow it.

~·
.    2     out. He pulls out bigger partially burned pieces prior to leaving.

     3    · KASKA said his crew does not use gas to clean their saws and all cleaning is done at the

     4     bus. He normally has the crew use a drip torch to start burn piles.

     5     KASKA said his crew cut the control line near the origin of the Loma Incident and

     6     noticed an area of cut brush near the fire that was not cut by his crew. (On October 31 81

     7     we met KASKA at the origin of the fire and he showed us the area of cut brush that his

      8    crew did not cut. He showed us a four-foot wide section ofbrush that was cut from the

     9     fuel break to the fires edge. It appeared io have been cut during initial attack to access

     10    the fires edge).

     11    KASKA said the previous year they were told it was okay to burn by their Administration

     12    Captain who was in contact with the Santa Clara Unit. KASKA said prior to burning he

     13    notifies Morgan Hill ECC and confirms it is a burn day. KASKA said his crew never

(    14    told them about any smoking piles on October 23'd. He also said his crew told him the

           piles (near the SOA) burned clean and were out after they burned them. They did not tell

     16    him how the piles were mopped up. KASKA said the morning of the Loma Incident he

     17    did not see embers blowing from the pile near the fires edge.

     18    On Saturday October 31, 2009 at approximately 11:00 a.m., Investigator GORDON

     19    contacted Mary BILLINGSLY at the intersection ofLoma Prieta Way and Loma

     20    Chiquita Way. BILLINGSLY stated she saw Cal Fire hand crews working along the

     21    Way near the Mid-Pen gate on October 21, 2009.

     22    At approximately 11:50 a.m., Investigator MUSCHETTO conducted a phone interview

     23    with Steven BUNTE. BUNTE lives on Loma Chiquita Way. BUNTE stated the

     24     following in summary:




                                                     ·30of40
             BUNTE said prior to the fire he had seen several piles left unattended that were still hot.

~   .   2    He told me several piles between the first gt.~ardrail east of the fire and the Lorna Chiquita

        3    Way gate were left hot after fire crews burned them. He said while driving Lorna Prieta

        4    Way he has seen piles smoking and blowing embers. He said on Friday (Oct. 23) he put

        5    out a pile near the Lorna Chiquita Way gate, near the guardrail. He also said on Tuesday

        6    (Oct. 20) or Wednesday (Oct 21) he saw glowing embers in a pile along Lama Prieta

        7    Way. He said this pile was east of the first guardrail that is east of the fire. When asked,

        8    BUNTE could not specifically remember the piles near the origin of the Lorna Incident

         9   smoking or smoldering. ·He again told me that Cal Fire crews are always leaving hot

        10   piles unattended and he sees them smoking or sees embers.

        11   On Sunday November I, 2009

        12 . I received a written report from Investigator KINYON. KINYON had reviewed the Cal

        13   Fire Santa ClaraECC phone recordings for October 16,2009. KINYON specifically·

(       14   listened to a recorded conversation between the ECC Duty Officer, Fire Captain Sherri

        15   AMUNDSON and Fire Captain AI GOMEZ.· GOMEZ was assigned to conduct pile-

        16   burning operations on the PL 566 project. GOMEZ asked AMUNDSON if it was a

        17   permissible burn day in Santa ClaraCounty. AMUNDSON stated it was. GOMEZ

        18   stated he had been told by the Felton ECC the burn restriction was still in place in Santa

        19   Clara County, but he should call Morgan Hill ECC. AMUNDSON replied it was a

        20   permissible burn day and she would check and call him back ifthere was a burn

        21   restriction. GOMEZ stated he would begin burning in approximately 10 minutes if he

        22   did not hear from her,

        23   On February 15,2010 I reviewed a supplemental report by Investigator Dennis

        24   JOHNSON. JOHNSON was contacted by Timothy PARKHURST through San Jose Fire

        25   Department. PARKHURST was concerned because his neighbor came home the


                                                         31 of40 .
"
         morning the Lorna Fire started with aerial fire retardant on his vehicle. PARKHURST

    2    stated his neighbor, Michael ROUTH, claimed to work with Cal Fire as a photographer. I

    3    confirmed ROUTH does do photography work for the department.

    4    On March 23,2010, I received and reviewed the Origin and Cause Report by Investigator

     5   Gary WHITE for the Lorna Fire. WHITE listed the fire cause as undetermined. WHITE

     6   included two causes in his hypothesis. Arson and Debris burn escape. The debris burn

     7   escape being from the subjeQt burn pile. WHITE quoted NFP A 921 in determination the

     8   cause, which states- "If two or more hypotheses are equally likely, then the level must

     9   be possible" If the level of certainty is "possible", then the cause should be classed as

    10   "Undetermined". WHITE did not have the results of the crime lab soil analysis at the

    11   time of his report.

    12   On March 24, 2010, I received and reviewed the Physical Evidence Examination Repmi

    13   on the soil samples submitted to the Sa,nta Clara County Crime Lab. The samples were

    14   taken from the SOA of the Lorna Fire. The report stated no ignitable liquid residue was

    15   identified in any of the samples. However, certain aromatic hydrocarbons were found to

    16   be present in the s~mples I, 3, 5, and Lab!. The compounds were not consistent with any

    17   currently identifiable ignitable liquid. Several reasons were listed to not identifYing the

    18   residue, including,

    19   The sample at no time contained an ignitable liquid.

    20   The sample was not collected from the exact location where an ignitable liquid was used.

    21   An ignitable liquid was used at the scene but was consumed by burning and/or

    22   evaporation prior to the sample collection or analysis.

    23   In soil, the presence of ce1iain microbes may cause degradation of hydrocarbons, altering

    24   the chemical composition of some ignitable liquid residues.

    25


                                                    32 of 40
         Timeline:

~   2    Around the beginning of October the area where the Lorna Fire started receives
\
    3    approximately 13 inches of rainfall.

    4    October 15, 2009.-:- GOMEZ is·working at Burrell Station and issues a Cal Fire Burn

    5    Permit (LE-5) to Ben Lomond Camp for burning on the PL-566 project.

     6   HARRIS and WADE both conduct burning on the PL-566 project. The burning was

    7    done between the first guardrail and Lorna Prieta Way.

     8   October 16, 2009- GOMEZ conducts burning with Beri Lomond Crew 2 near the

     9   intersection of Lorna Prieta Way and Mount Madonna-Summit Road. Several piles were

    10   burned including the subject burn pile.

    II   October 19, 2009- CASTRO issues a Cal Fire Burn Permit (LE-5) to conduct burning on

    12   the PL-566 project. CASTRO sends notification to the Bay Area Air Quality

    13   Management District that open burning is going to occur on the PL-566 project. Cal Fire

(   14   Engines 1672 and 1663 conduct burning along Lorna Prieta Road. East of Lorna Fire

    15   Origin.

    16   October 20, 2009- Engine 1663 and 1673 conduct bur_nirig along Lorna Prieta. East of

    17   Lama Fire Origin. At approximately 6:00p.m., Engine 1663 responds back out to the

    18   area to extinguish a smoldering pile, east ofthe first guardrail.

    19   October 21, 2009- Ben Lomond Crews 2, 3, and 4 are assigned to the PL-566 project.

    20   Captains GOMEZ, HARRIS, and ADAMS conduct burning near Lorna Prieta Peak.

    21   Engine 1663 with Captain KERSTEINS burns along Lorna Prieta Road. WOLF decides

    22   the conditions are getting too dry and suspends burning. CASTRO notifies Ben Lomond

    23   Camp.

    24   October 22, 2009- No activity takes place on the PL-566 project.




                                                    33 of40
         October 23, 2009- Ben Lomond Crews 1, 2, and 4 are assigned to the PL-566 project

~    2   with Captains GILBERT, KASKA, and ADAMS. No burning takes place.

     3   October 24, 2009- WOLF is supervising roadwork on the PL-566 project. WOLF

     4   contacts Channing VERDEN near the project site. VERDEN tells WOLF he hopes Cal

     5   Fire's burn piles do not get away.

     6   October 25, 2009- At approximately 2:30a.m. Craig PONKEY is driving through the

     7   area and observed a fire burning. PONKEY calls 911 to report the fire. The call is

     8   routed through the California Highway Patrol to Santa Clara County Fire Department

     9   dispatch. At approximately 2:44a.m:, Santa Clara County Fire Department and Cal Fire

    10   Engine 1768 are dispatched to Loma Prieta and Summit Road. Units are unable to locate

    II   the fire. At approximately 3:20 a.m., Scott WEBSTER is driving through the area and

    12   observes the fire. WEBSTER calls 911 and is transferred to the Cal Fire Santa Cruz

    13   Emergency Command Center. WEBSTER provides additional information on the fire
(   14   location. At approximately 3:28a.m., Cal Fire dispatches fire suppression units to Loma

    15   Prieta Way and Summit Road. At approximately 3:45 a.m., Cal Fire Engine 1762 arrives

    16   at the fire and reports 2 acres of brush burning.

    17

    18   Cause Exclusion:

    19

    20   Lightning:

    21   Lightning caused fires can smolder and go undetected for several days. STEW ART

    22   downloaded that BLM lighting activity map for the general fire area. The period covered

    23   was from   09/2~/09   at 12:00 a.m. until 10/25/09 at approximately 7:59p.m. During ihese

    24   dates and times, there were no negative o'r positive strikes in or around the fire area.




                                                    34 of 40
         Examination of the GOA and SOA revealed no evidence oflightning (refer to tab M for

    2    lightning data). Lightning can be e:xcluded as a possible cause.

     3

     4   Equipment Use:

     5   Equipment use includes fires that occur from the operation of mechanical equipment,

     6   except railways . Some of the main igJ!ition mechanisms, which can be attributed to these

     7   fires, are; exhaust system. particles, friction, mechanical breakdown or malfunction, and

     8   radiant or conductive heat transfer. Although there was evidence of a chain saw being

     9   used in the SOA, witness statements support this occurring prior to October 16. The cut

    10   stobs did not have a fresh cut iook to them. I examined the rocks within the SOA and

    11   found none with recent rock strikes. Examination of the GOA and SOA revealed no

    12   evidence of equipment tracks or related ignition sources. Equipment use can be

    13   e:xclnded as a possible cause.

(   14

    15   Campfire:

    16   Campfire related fires are generally associated with cooking or warming. This type of

    17   activity will normally have physical evidence that includes food items or packaging, rock

    18   rings, ground disturbance, remains of collected wood, or damaged and discarded portable

    19   stoves, flammable liquids, or barbecue briquettes. Examination of the GOA and SOA

    20   revealed no evidence associated with campfires. Campfires can be e:xclnded as a

    21   possible cause.

    22

    23   Debris Burning:

    24   This category includes trash burning, slash piles, incinerators, burn barrels, or other types

    25   of controlled burns; These activities are normally associated with human residences, or

    26   commercial activities. These types of fires generally have easily identified physical
                                                    35 of 40
          evidence in the origin area. Examination of the SOA revealed remains of a burn pile

F    2    within 20'. Multiple ignition points were found within the SOA. This is consistent with

     3    hot embers from the subject burn pile igniting multiple points within the SOA. The fire

     4    appeared to "creep" in the duff and ground litter. Weather conditions included strong

     5    winds and low humidity, prior to the fire. Debris Burning cannot be excluded as a

     6    possible cause.

     7

     8    RailWay:

     9    No railway activity exists within the general origin area. The nearest railway tracks are

    10    more than two miles away. Examination of the GOA and SOA revealed no evidence of

    11    railways. Railways can be excluded as a possible cause.

    12

    13    Incendiary/ Arson:

(   14    Incendiary or arson fires are deliberately and maliciously set. These fires can be ignited

    15    using any open flame device; this could include a range of items from a sophisticated

    16    time delay device to a simple match: If the device used to ignite the fire is carried away

    17    (such as a lighter or match), physical evidence would be minimal or absent. If a timed

    18    delay device is used the likelihood of discovering burned components of the device is

    19    high. Arson can also be estal:flished by.identiJying a pattern of suspicious or known arson·

    20    fires in a geographic area. Examination of the GOA and SOA revealed no evidence of

    .21   incendiary devices. The presence of an ignitable liquid pattern, the accelerant detection

    22    canine alerting in the same area, supports including Arson as a potential cause.

    23    Incendiary is partially included as a cause due to the presence of an ignitable liquid

    24    bnrn pattern, and the canine alert near the SOA.

    25

    26    Playing With Fire:
                                                     36 of 40
         Children caused fires are generally associated with children playing and their curiosity

     2   with fire. These fires are generally found near residential areas, -playgrounds, schools,

     3   and campgrounds. Children caused fires will normally contain evidence of children

    4    playing in the immediate area. Examination of the GOA and SAO revealed no evidence

     5   of children playing with fire. Children can be excluded as a possible cause.

     6

    7    Miscellaneous Other:

     8   This category of causes includes spontaneous combustion, reflective or magnifYing

     9   objects, and other Jess common ignition sources. Examination of the GOA and SOA

    10   revealed no evidence items associated with miscellaneous caused fires. Miscellaneous

    II   can be excluded as a possible cause.

    12
    13   Smoking:

    14   Discarded ignited smoking materials, such as cigarettes, cigars, .Pipe tobacco, and
(
    15   matches, can start wildfires.     However, any of these heat sources require several

    16   conditions in order to ignite vegetation.     The fuel source must be dry, and fine or

    17   powdery. The fine dead fuel moisture needs to be below about 14% and the relative

    18   humidity needs to be below 2.2% with temperatures of 80° and higher. The ash and filter

    19   (if present) of a cigarette butt or burned match may be identifiable at the point of origin.

    20   The weather conditions from the RAWS Los Gatos (LSGCJ), N37°.204 x W121 °.950

    21   located approximately ten miles northwest from the general origin area and the elevation

    12   is 1842'. The documented weather was Temperature 58°F, Relative Humidity 52%, and

    23   Winds North/Northeast 6 mph gusting to 12 mph.

    24   The on scene weather condition taken by SAMPSON at·0907. The winds were out of the

    25   Northeast at 12 gusting to 25 mph. Relative Humidity of27% with a temperature of 62°.


                                                    37 of 40
                      No discarded cigarette butts were found in GOA or SOA. Smoking can be excluded as

                  2   a possible cause.

                  3

                  4   Power Line:

                  5   Power lines fires normally result from conductor failure or faulting, insulator failure,

                  6   hardware failure, birds and small animals, and Mylar balloons. Possible cause indicators

                  7   for power lines are as follows: power lines located in or near the area of origin, downed

                  8   power lines, trees or other vegetation in contact with power lines. Recently downed tree

                  9   limb located on ground under or near area of origin, discoloration of line and/or signs of

                 10   arcing or other equipment failure, circuit breakers in open position, blown fuses, recently

                 II   dead bird found in area of origin, high winds and or high temperatures prior to the fire,

                 12   and recent power outages or brownouts. There were no power lines within the SOA and

                 13   GOA. A search of the area revealed no dead birds or small animal.; related to a powerline

(                14   cauoed fire. Power Lines can be excluded as a cause of the fire.
\
                 15

                 16   Vehicle:

                 17   Fire started by motorized transp-ortation equipment including cars, ttucks, and

                 18   motorcycles are generally contributed to mechanical failures. These failures are most

                 19   commonly one of the-following; exhaust, heat transfer, and mechanical. breakdowns.

                 20   Generally, there will be multiple Wayside fires, metallic particles, and or vehicles broken

                 21   down, around or past the area of origin. Examination of the GOA and SOA revealed no

                 22   evidence to indicate cause from a vehicle. The SOA located above the Way and uphil\.

                 23   No vehicle access was possible to this location.      Vehicle can be excluded as a possible

                 24   cause.

                 25

                 26   Opinions I Conclusions
(,_ -~--------

                                                                 38 of 40
         Based on my training, experience and the existing conditions, subsequent actions and

~   2    sequence of events, I believe the Lorna Fire ignited from embers blowing into the duff
I

     3   and ground litter, from the subject burn pile. I determined the subject burn pile was

    4    burned by Cal Fire on October 16,2009. Specifically the pile was burned by an inmate

     5   fire crew under the direction of Fire Captain GOMEZ. GOMEZ had a valid Cal Fire

     6   burning permit from the Santa Cruz Unit. The burning occurred within a week of the

     7   area receiving approximately 13 inches of rainfall. The clearance the pile had met the

     8   requirement .set by the burn permit. The exact spot where the burning occurred was in

     9   Santa Clara County, by less than one hundred feet. GOMEZ had the required clearance

    10   to bare mineral soil around the burn pile, and too)< some extinguishment actions. The pile

    11   remains were disturbed by WARD prior to my inspection on October 26, 2009.

    12   However, upon my inspection I did find the pile tostill contain hot material. I also

    13   observed hot, glowing embers blowing from the subject pile, into the specific origin area

(   14   (SOA). The duff and ground litter present at the SOA would have readily supported

    15   ignition from subject burn piles blowing embers. The presence of the ignitable Hquid

    16   burn pattern between the original bum pile and where the fire originated from prohibits

    17   me from fully excluding arson. The Jab tests on the soil only confirmed the presence of

    18   some aromatic hydrocarbons. I believe embers from the subject burn pile is more

    19   probable. Fire Captain GOMEZ admitted to burning .the pile ofbrush on October 16,

    20   2009, and before leaving covering the pile with dirt. The loose dirt over the pile probably

    21   "crusted" over with the onset of moisture during the evening hours, after burning. This

    22   . would have insulated the hot material and kept it from cooling off. WHITE found

    23   material still at the 800 degree F. mark on October 28. This was three full days after the

    24   fire. Unfortunately, the fire suppression action on the pile by WARD precludes me from

    25   accurately determining the exact composure of the pile. The presence of the ignitable


                                                    39 of 40
            liquid could be related to chain saw activiti·es during the construction of the fuel break.

 ~·    2    GOMEZ stated he did not use drip torch fuel to ignite the pile on October 16, 2009.

       3   However, someone from the fire crew could have disposed an ignitable liquid there

       4   without GOMEZ knowing. The hot material present at the subject burn pile is consistent

       5   with burning being conducted for several hours. Not someone stacking unburned brush

       6   on the subject pile and igniting it, in an attempt to stage    aburn pile escape.   An ignitable

       7    liquid could have been used to help stage the debris burn escape. However, the pattern

       8   was not in a "trailer" configuration, and I do not believe the particular spot where the

       9    pattern was would have benefited fire spread. If an ignitable liquid was placed there for

      l0   that reason.

      11

      12   Therefore, it is my opinion the Lorna Fire was caused by hot material blowing from the

      13   Cal Fire subject burn pile, into the unbumed vegetation.

i'    14



      COPIES TO                                             I INVESTIGATION STATUS
      R.uO    REGO   HOD     DAD     AGO    OTHER   0        CLOSED   0    CONTINUING 18] OTHER

      PRINTED NAME OF REPORTING OFFICER    REPORTING OFFICER SIGNATURE          TITLE               DATE OF REPORT

      James Engel                                                               Division Chief          .




                                                        40 of40 ·
                    '           .
                                                                                                      ORIGINATORS CASE
           SUPPLEMENTARY INVESTIGATION REPORT                                                              NUMBER
           STATE OF CALIFORNIA
           DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY AND
           FIRE PROTECTION (Form I.E-71)                                                                  09CACZU09867
                        MONTH        DATE                              COUNTY           REG          RU          INCIDENT#
                          October          25                    Santa Clara           CNR           czu           9867

 2
 3   Subject #1:
 4
 5   The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection was responsible for igniting
 6   several bum piles along Lorna Prieta Way, for the removal of cut bru.sh. The brush
 7   cutting was in support of the PL 566 project. The project includes the maintenance of
 8   fuel breaks along the Summit Road area.
 9
10   AI GOMEZ . Fire Captain- Ben Lomond Camp.
11   California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
12   6059 Highway .9
13   Felton, CA 95018-0316
14   Phone: (831) 335-5355
15
16   GOMEZ was supervising a Cal Fire Inmate Firefighting Crew (Ben Lomond #2) on
17   0CiY\'th11lirl.<i;ARD,!/,,,"~~;Hy,!~Z. dire9t~li 1!A~"gr~YI il:\,~¥~:~,b;~g, ~~iY:!JPij)'Hi~s \lt:SJJJBl\-lsll>.on the
18   west side of Lorna Prieta Way, south of Summit Road. GOMEZ stated after burning the
19   brush;·he·direeted ·the crew-to ·fully -ell'tinguish-th,;;piles, 0r -mop up. --GOME-Z- instr-ucted
20   the crew to cover the subject pile with dirt during the mop up process. GOMEZ stated he
21   physically checked the pile again on October 23, 2009 and found no hot material.
22   GOMEZ had a burn permit issued from the Cal fire Santa Cr\lz Unit.

COPIES TO                                                       liNVESTIGATION STATUS
RUO     REGO    HOD       bAD       AGO       OTHER   0            CLOSED 0 CONTINUING         \81   OTHER

PRINTED NAME OF REPORTING OFFICER           REPORTING OFFICER SIGNATURE                TITLE                    DATE OF REPORT

James EngeL·                                                                           Division Chief




                                                              1 of 1
                                                                                                 ORIGINATORS CASE
                  SUPPLEMENTARY INVESTIGATION REPORT                                                  NUMBER
                  STATE OF CALIFORNIA
~.
(--~
                  DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY AND
                  FIRE PROTECTION (Form LE-71)                                                       09CACZU09867
                              MONTH         DATE                   COUNTY          REG          RU        INCIDENT#
                             October        25               Santa Clara          CNR           czu        9867

        2
        3    Violation:
        4
        5    Health and Safety Code Section 13000. Every person is guilty of a misdemeanor who.
        6    allows a fire kindled or attended by him to escape from his control or to spread to the
        7    lands of any person other than the builder of the fire without using every reasonable and
        8    proper precaution to prevent the fire from escaping.
        9
       10

       COPIES TO                                             I INVESTIGATION STATUS
       RUO     REG[]   HoD   PAD      AGO     OTHER   0       ·Cl-OSED   0   CONTINUING   I8J   OTHER

       PRINTED NAME OF REPORTING OFFICER    ·REPORTING OFFICER SIGNATURE         TITl-E                  DATE OF REPORT

       James Engel                                                                Division Chief




                                                          1 of 1
                                                                                               ORIGINATORS CASE
                 SUPPLEMENTARY INVESTIGATION REPORT                                                 NUMBER
                 STATE OF CALIFORNIA




     '
    CASE TITLE
    Lorna Fire

     2
                 DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY AND
                 FIRE PROTECTION (Form LE·71)




          Conditions::
                         I October I 25 I 2009 I Santa Clara
                             MONTH      DATE     YEAR            COUNTY      I CNR
                                                                               REG            RU
                                                                                                09CACZU09867

                                                                                             czuII
                                                                                                      INCIDENT#
                                                                                                       9867


     3
     4    The initial on scene weather was recorded by Investigator Rich SAMPSON. SAMPSON
     5    recorded his weather observations near the General Origin Area, using a Kestrel
     6    Handheld Weather Observation Device.            ·
     7
     8    Approximately 8:00 a.m.
     9
    10    Temperature: 70 degree F.
    II    Relative Humidity: 20%
    12    Winds: 18 mph out of the north/northeast. Gusts to 30 mph.
    13
    14    RAWS Observations:
    15
    16    RAWS observations taken from the Los Gatos LSCG·l ( 9 miles from the.Loma Fire
    ]7    origin0'}~AWS· sit() and the NSRDT site ( approxim:;ttely 3.26 miles from the origin).
    18
    19.   Weather Event Time line compHed ·by Investigator Garrett SIMMONS.
    20
    21     I0/13/2009 4:32AM- IO/I4/2009 9:32pm. 4.52 inches of rain recorded.
(
    22
    23    I0/16/2009 between IO:OO AM and 4:00PM- GOMEZ burns piles at origin ofLoma
    24    Fire.
    25
    26     IO/I9/2009 11:32 AM- .09 iqchesofrain recorded.
    27
    28    I0/2412009 .1 0:32PM- Temperature 61 degrees. Relative Humidity 63%, Winds 6- I 3
    29    mph out of the Northeast.
    30
    31     10/25/2009 2:32AM- Temperature 62 degrees, Relative Humidity 54%, Winds 6- I 1
    32     mph out of the Northeast.
    33
    34    The wind speed was most likely higher being along the top of the' ridge, where the origin
    35    was located. This is primarily due to the increase in elevation and lack of protection at
    36    that particular location.
    37
     38
     39    The BLM Lighting data report showed no positive strikes in the area.
     40

    COPIES TO                                              I INVESTIGATION STATUS
    RUD     REGD    HOD     DAD      AGO    OTHER   0        CLOSED   0   CONTINUING   12J   OTHER

    PRINTED NAME OF REPORTING OFFICER      REPORTING OFFICER SIGNATURE        TITLE                  DATE OF REPORT

    James Enqel                                                                Division Chief
                                                        I of I
                                                                                        ORIGINATORS CASE
             SUPPLEMENTARY INVESTIGATION REPORT

 l'
CASE TITLE
             STATE OF CALIFORNIA
             D~PARTMENT OF FORESTRY AND
             FIRE PROT!'CTION (Form LE-71)
                      I             I DATE I           I       COUNTY     I
                                                                                             NUMBER

                                                                                         09CACZU09867
                                                                                               INCIDENT#
                                                                                       czuJI
                          MONTH                Y!'AR                           REG      RU
Lorna Fire                October       25     2009        Santa Clara        CNR                9867


 2    Evidence:
 3
 4    A series of photographs were taken to accurately depict the fire scene.
 s    Soil samples were taken and submitted to the Santa Clara County Crime Lab for ignitable
 6    liquid testing.
 7
 8    Please see attached LE-75 's- Photograph and Evidence Report.
 9
10


COPIES TO
RUO REGO HOD              DAD     AGO    OTHER 0
                                                           I CLOSED 0 CONTINUING 12J
                                                             INVESTIGATION STATUS
                                                                                       OTHER

PRINTED NAM!' OF REPORTING OFFICER      REPORTING OFFICER SIGNATURE           TITLE            DATE OF REPORT

James Engel                                                                   Division Chief




                                                       I of!
                                                                                       ORIGINATORS CASE
                 SUPPLEMENTARY INVESTIGATION REPORT                                         NUMBER
                 STATE; OF CALIFORNIA
~
I

     '
    QASETITLE
    Lorna Fire
                 DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY AND
                 FIRE; PROTECTION (Form LE-71)
                         I    MONTH
                             October
                                       I DATE I
                                            25
                                                   YEAR
                                                  2009
                                                          I        COUNTY
                                                              Santa Clara
                                                                             I CNR
                                                                               REG    RU
                                                                                     czu
                                                                                        09CACZU09867
                                                                                         II     INCIDI'NT#
                                                                                                 9867


     2     Property:
     3
     4    The following property was damaged or destroyed by the Lorna Fire:
     5
     6    485 Acres of grass, brush, and trees were burned by the fire.
     7    Four Recreational Vehicles were either damaged or destroyed by the fire.
     8    One vehicle was destroyed by the fire.
     9    Seven outbuildings were destroyed or damaged by the fire.
    10
    II    See the attached damage assessment report for detailed information


    COPIES TO                                                 [INVEsTIGATION STATUS
    RUD     REGD HOD         DAD      AGO    OTHER D            CLOSED D CONTINUING~ OTHER

    PRINTJ;D NAME OF REPORTING OfFICER      REPORTING OFFICE;R 81\)Nf\TURE   TITLE             DATE OF REPORT

    James Engel                                                               Division Chief




                                                          I of I
"
                                                                                  ORIGINATORS CASE
                 SUPPLEMENTARY INVESTIGATiON REPORT                                    NUMBER
                 STATE OF CALIFORNIA
                 DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY AND
"                FIRE PROTECTION (Fonn LE-71)                                         09CACZU09867
    CASE TITLE               MONTH      DATE                   COUNTY    REG     RU        INCIDENT#
    Loma Fire               October      25              Santa Clara    CNR     czu          9867


     2    Vehicle(s)
     3
     4    There were no vehicles directly related to the cause of the Loma Fire. Please see the
     5    attached damage assessment report for a complete list of vehicles damaged or destroyed
     6    by the Loma Fire.
     7



    COPIES TO                                           \INVESTIGATION STATUS
    RUD     REGD    HOD     DAD      AG D. OTHERD         CLOSED D CONTINUING 18) OTHER

    PRINTED NAME OF REPORTING OFFICER    REPORTING OFFICER SIGNATURE    TITLE             DATE OF REPORT

    James Enqel                                                         Division Chief




                                                      1 of 1

				
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