San Diego

Catalytic Converter Sparks 1 of 2 Fires in Los Penasquitos Canyon

Two fires broke out in Carmel Valley and Sorrento Valley areas Wednesday on opposite sides of Penasquitos Creek.

One of the blazes was a half-acre first alarm fire that broke out in Carmel Valley near Carmel Mountain Road and Canter Heights Drive just after 5 p.m.

While the fire charred the canyon nearby, homeowner Babita Jetly decided not to take any chances.

"I could smell it. I freaked out," Jetly said.

She and her husband packed up the kids and evacuated voluntarily with the devastating fires burning across the state on their minds the whole time.

"I was calling all my neighbors to leave as soon as possible because I don't want to take any chance with what happened with the Camp Fire," she said.

That fire threatened nearby structures but none were damaged, said Mónica Muñoz with the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

An SDFD helicopter made successful water drops over the fire. A cause was not determined.

The other blaze was a 1-acre fire that broke out near Camino Santa Fe and Calle Cristobal. SDFD investigated the fire and found that it was started by a catalytic converter on a car, according to Muñoz.

Several fire spots popped up alongside the roadways, roughly 150 feet away from homes, SDFD said.

The forward rate of spread was stopped at around 5:50 p.m., Muñoz said. No nearby buildings were damaged.

A spot fire broke out at the same location around the same time on Tuesday and investigators believe the cause was the same, Muñoz said.

Muñoz said no one was hurt in either incident.

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