Fairfield Parks Closed Due to High Fire Risk

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FAIRFIELD -- It looks like a painting — rolling hills and wide open space in Fairfield. But take a closer look, and it's clear the drought has taken a toll on Rolling Hills Open Space.

It's a playground for nature lovers, and it's conveniently located in Micah Rankin's backyard.

"I like to get my workouts in at the park, so by it being shut down, I'll have to improvise," Rankin said.

This weekend the Fairfield Fire Department closed Sherpas Ranch-Rolling Hills Open Space and two other popular parks: Rockville Hills Regional Park and Spyglass Open Space.

"The primary danger comes from the low humidity. We're expecting [humidity to be] between 15 and 20 percent," said Fairfield Fire Department Battalion Chief John Sturdee.

Sturdee says the fire risk is high, and while it may be inconvenient, closing the parks will help keep people safe.

"Our open space areas are particularly vulnerable because they are wildland areas that aren't typically mowed or grazed," Sturdee said.

Resident Lelend Tong understands the decision because he has seen what can happen when people aren't careful. "It may inconvenience the public but it's more for public safety than anything else," Tong said.

For Rankin, who will have to search farther for a place to workout, he says if it prevents a wildfire, it's worth it.

"It's just kind of sad, but if it's keeping lives safe then I'm all for it," said Rankin.

The fire department plans to keep the parks closed until Monday.