‘It just takes one spark’: Firefighters prepared for early fire season

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Firefighters didn’t get much of a break on this Red Flag Monday.

“Lots of fires, quick starts, and then rapid spread,” said Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District Captain Chris Vestal.

FOX40 spoke to Vestal at the scene of an afternoon grass fire on Elvyra Way.

“And it just takes one spark this time of year,” Vestal said.

The flames almost spread to an apartment building.

“It just shows how fast a simple grass fire can spread to structures and then of course affect the people that are living inside and potentially even their life,” Vestal said.

The cause of this fire is under investigation.

It serves as an example of why firefighters want all of us to be more fire-safe.

“Don’t take it for granted just because you live in the city or an urban area like this one. Any kind of vegetation next to a fence, next to a home: combustible seat cushions or fuels that are against your house. Those can ignite. Those can then catch your house on fire,” Vestal said.

Later in the afternoon, flames broke out in West Sacramento between E Street and Sacramento Avenue.

Railroad traffic had to be halted while firefighters put these flames out.

Access was difficult, crews had to cut through a barbed-wire fence to safely get hose lines to the flames.

For firefighters, the first half of May is looking alarmingly like the middle of summer.

The moisture in the grass is completely gone, weeks ahead of schedule.

“You hear how dry it is. It’s easy to grab and it just basically crumbles,” Vestal said. “The bulk of it is ready to burn. and it’s enough that there’s no fuel moisture in the ground. So, as this burns, there’s no steam to come up. there’s nothing to be lifted out.”

“We know that we’re going to be in these conditions until it rains again.”

FOX40 checked out several grass fire scenes Monday and in most cases, crews had put out the flames quickly and the fires were kept very small, a testament to how ready firefighters are in these dangerously dry conditions.

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