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MODESTO — A grass fire in Modesto that started around 5 p.m. on Dale Road near Kiernan Aveune sent people running from their homes.

Charles and Debra Phillips told FOX40 this is the fourth time a fire has broken out in the same field.

“I came out and it was just all kinds of smoke and the flames,” said Debra Phillips.

“Got the hoses out, started watering all around the house and watering all the fence lines,” Charles Phillips told FOX40.

High winds and dry conditions caused the grass fire to spread quickly. The Phillips had only seconds to decide what was really important to them.

“You know they came up and told us to evacuate. I mean what do you do in five minutes? You got five dogs a cat and what do you grab?” Charles Phillips asked.

But just 20 feet from their back fence, firefighters showed up and told them not to worry.

“He goes ‘Hey we’ve got you man, we’ll keep it away from your house,'” Charles Phillips said.

“We haven’t had a change to determine a cause and origin, but no firefighters were hurt,” said Alan Ernst, a division chief with the Modesto Fire Department.

In the end, only 30 acres of grass burned. But Ernst said his department has been coming to the vacant lot frequently.

“It’s a fairly large section of open land for us, it’s at the intersection of two highly traveled roads both by vehicles and pedestrians,” Ernst said.

The Phillips said they believe they know how this fire started, the same way the others did.

“I think it was somebody throwing out a cigarette,” Debra Phillips said.

They’re upset the owners of the adjacent property are not helping solve the problem.

“They literally do not plow or nothing. We have told them over, and over, and over ‘Hey you need to take care of your property’ and he never does,” Charles Phillips said.