Officials: Woman driving on rim sparks California wildfires

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A car driven by a woman high on drugs sparked several wildfires that consumed at least 450 acres in Northern California, forced evacuations and burned one home, authorities say.

The woman was driving on the right rear rim of her subcompact car, emitting sparks that caused the fires in Calaveras County, 65 miles southeast of Sacramento, The California Highway Patrol tells KCRA-TV.

One home was burned on Sunday and many people were forced to leave their homes. The evacuation orders have since been lifted.

"We immediately smelled the smoke from the vehicle and looked and there was a fire on the corner of the property," homeowner Eugene Brooks told the station. Neighbors were left to help put out hot spots near their homes and said they were relieved the fire wasn't worse.

Renee Hogan was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, the CHP said. The state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says it has filed additional charges against Hogan related to the fires.

The fire is 30 percent contained. No one was injured. Hogan's car was torched by the flames.

With wildfire season in full swing, Cal Fire is pleading with homeowners and drivers to be careful. There are some 11,500 firefighters battling a dozen large wildfires in California.
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