Recently, I was walking at the Bolsa Chica wetlands. A group of photographers on the bridge had their attention fixed not on the clusters of birds gathering to fish, but on a thin line of white smoke rising about a half-mile in the distance, near the Brightwater trail. It appeared to be a fire, so I walked out to see what was going on.
By the time I arrived, eight or so firefighters were on scene, a few dragging a water hose down from the upper trail to extinguish a small fire burning with waist-high flames. The other firefighters were in the middle of the palm tree grove, chopping away at the fuel source to further contain the orange flames.
Gary Keller, a technician with the California Department of Fish and Game, wandered over from where he was working nearby to observe and comment on what was happening.
"It's another transient fire," he said. "We cleared this area out in '09, but they obviously came back to the same spot because it's so secluded and protected," he said.