Firefighters Say Heavy Brush in Protected Area a Danger

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SACRAMENTO —

Sacramento City Firefighters said they had to back off a fire along the American River bike trail because several tall trees caught fire and were dropping branches.

“These were not small branches … some of them were two or three feet across,” said fire department spokesperson Chris Harvey.

Harvey said they were well aware of the federal firefighter who was killed recently by a falling tree.

The fire was in a protected area of the parkway dominated by heavy, thorny brush that towered over the heads of firefighters.

The area is protected from development or any changes that might transform the natural habitat of the parkway. But the heavy brush makes it more dangerous for firefighters.

“It’s very much like jungle conditions that you’re having to fight your way through,” Harvey said.

County contracted tree crews, coincidentally felling trees on the parkway from an earlier fire, responded to the fire crews. They determined that five cottonwood trees over a hundred feet high would have to be cut down to allow firefighters to fully extinguish the fire.

“We had to clear out a homeless camp nearby because of the danger,” said Troy Martin of RRR Tree Service.

Oddly enough, it is homeless people who are suspected of causing the fire, although an investigation is not yet complete.

Numerous fires in the area have been attributed to illegal camps hidden in the thick brush.

“Ninety-five percent of the fires caused in these situations are caused by human activity, whether it was intentional or accidental is unknown at this time,” Harvey saod.

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