Study finds sparks from golf clubs ignites fires

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Updated: 3/19 1:28 pm

IRVINE, Calif. (AP) — Golfers are urged to swing with care after scientists at the University of California, Irvine, proved that titanium-coated clubs can cause course-side vegetation to burst into flames.

Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi says the results confirm a suspicion investigators have had for years: that titanium clubs were likely the true cause of at least two blazes on Orange County golf courses, including one that burned 12 acres at Shady Canyon in 2010.

Professor James Earthman says the clubs can produce sparks if hit upon a rock. And the sparks will burn for more than a second — plenty of time to ignite a fire.

Concialdi says the Fire Authority is giving golfers permission to "improve their lie" — that is, to move their ball away from rocks and dry vegetation.

©2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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