Police: DUI suspect drove on rims, sparking Calaveras County, Calif., wildfire

SAN ANDREAS , Calif., Aug. 29 (UPI) — A DUI suspect faces additional charges for allegedly starting a Calaveras County, Calif., wildfire, officials said.

The driver, identified as Renee Hogan, was arrested Sunday on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs. Investigators said her vehicle was traveling on a right rear wheel without a tire and was emitting sparks, which prompted a fire in which Hogan’s car burned. The fire spread to dry grass and woodland, and consumed 450 acres by Sunday afternoon.

“We heard [the vehicle] and it sounded like it was running on a steel rim and then 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 KCRA-TV, Sacramento.

Although no buildings were burned, some residents evacuated the area, and a mandatory evacuation was ordered for the Willow Valley subdivision of the city of San Andreas. By Sunday night the fire was declared 15 percent contained; 300 ground crew personnel fought the fire with the help of fire retardants dropped from aircraft tankers.

The fire is near the site of a another wildfire in September 2015.

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