Trivia of the day – Wine Spectator reports on the culprit of the most recent California fire:
The California Wildfire Culprit
Posted: September 3, 2009
• California’s wine regions are once again under threat of wildfires. One of the most recent fires in the state, dubbed the Gloria fire, started just east of the town of Soledad, in California’s Salinas Valley. To the west of the valley lie the Santa Lucia Highlands, to the east lie, among others, the Pinnacles and Stonewall Vineyards of Constellation’s Estancia winery. California fire investigators now believe the fire, which has burned more than 6,000 acres, started as a result of so-called “bird bombs” used in the vineyard to scare away hungry birds trying to feast on ripening grapes. Investigators at the scene say they spotted fragments of the bird bomb that is most likely responsible for the fire. While “bird cannons” designed to scare birds automatically go off every 20 seconds and expel no sparks, bird bombs are fired from a hand-held pistol and burst in the air, often sending sparks into nearby grass or brush. Investigators are currently looking for the person or persons who may have been working in the vineyards at the time. The fire was not reported by vineyard workers, but by motorists passing on nearby Highway 101 that runs through the valley. Costs for fire containment have surpassed $4 million and who will foot the bill has yet to be determined. Where’s a good old-fashioned scarecrow when you need one?