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Freeway Grasses Worry Mobile Home Owners

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NEWCASTLE-

Residents of the Castle City Mobile Home Park are more than a little concerned about the high and dry grasses that line Interstate 80 that borders 200 mobile homes.

A fire last week that destroyed a mobile home in the park has them on alert.  That fire didn’t have anything to do with the freeway grasses, but last year residents say a faulty brake caused a fire that threatened the park.

“It was scary,” said Ray Lopez.

Lopez and his wife battled the blaze that raced from the freeway through a buffer area that backs up to his mobile home.  They held it off until firefighters arrived.

“It just rapidly came up and all the trees out here went up like gasoline,” said Lopez.

Residents say quickly evacuating the senior retirement community is their biggest concern.  Many use wheelchairs.

“We’re all handicapped in here in some way…we all have ailments,” said Lopez.

Cal Trans Distrcit 3 spokesperson Rochelle Jenkins told FOX40 News that the area adjoining the park was mowed earlier this year but grasses grew back.  She said Cal Trans says inspectors continually monitor the growth of grasses.

Cal Trans wants residents to call them about problem areas they may have overlooked to augment inspections.

Jenkins says a second mowing in the area has been scheduled but hot dry conditions limit mowing to the morning hours so crews don’t start accidental fires.

A 200 foot buffer area owned by the mobile home park was cleared after last year’s fire so the fire danger should be not be as acute.

Jenkins also advised disabled motorists to stay on gravel surfaces when they pull over on the highways or freeways.

“We mow grasses to 4 inches and a hot engine or car part can easily catch dry grasses on fire,” said Jenkins.

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