MADERA COUNTY – Cal Fire has learned the cause of the nearly 500 acre fire along Highways 41 and 145 on Sunday, June 16, that consumed a barn and two haystacks before being brought under control.
According to Cal Fire spokesperson Karen Guillemin, the fire was started by the metal end of a racheting tie-down strap that had come loose and was dragging on the road, creating sparks as it hit the concrete.
Investigators have also learned that the fire on John Muir Drive, which burned just over an acre this past Sunday was caused by a catalytic converter.
Guillemin says that when a catalytic converter fails and starts to come apart, small pieces can break off and land in dry brush or grass, igniting a fire.
Catalytic converters can reach very high temperatures, even under normal conditions, and motorists should always be careful not to pull off the road and park in dry grass.