SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) – With powerful winds gusting, grass fires popped up every few hours across Sacramento County Monday.
“It’s early in the season, fires are getting really good starts, taking off quickly. The fuel is dry, temperatures are increased, even for this time of the year,” explained Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District Battalion Chief Christopher Reed.
First, Metro firefighters responded to a three-acre fire on South Watt Avenue near Fruitridge Road.
“Units arrived on scene, found the fire moving quickly towards the east and south,” Reed said.
Fortunately, firefighters say Morrison Creek prevented the flames from spreading too far south, and a driveway and a neighbor with a hose slowed it from reaching more houses to the east.
“We had a couple of dogs in front of the fire that the resident wanted to get out of the way when I first pulled up,” Reed told FOX40. “So I had to ask her to move out of the way because we don’t want to get anybody hurt. We’ll get the dogs, but we don’t want her to get hurt.”
The fire started close to Watt Avenue, but its cause is still under investigation.
“We have no reason to believe it’s electrical at this point or arson,” Reed said.
Just a few hours later another two fires started. One near Highway 50 and Zinfandel Drive, and another at International Drive and Sunrise Boulevard.
“Fortunately this one was bordered by roads,” said Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District Captain Chris Vestal. “But it still spread very fast.”
Both of those fires had the same cause: someone mowing a grass field.
“Unfortunately it was started by somebody using a mower in a dry field, on a red flag day. Despite all of our warnings,” Vestal said. “We still had people doing things that they shouldn’t be.”
Fortunately, Sacramento Metro Fire says it prepared for this red flag weather, having transitioned its equipment over the weekend to assets needed for wildfire season.
“We put into play our 4X4 fire engines like some of the ones behind me, our helicopters become active, as well as our bulldozer program. So we have more equipment ready for us,” Vestal explained.
Metro Fire says people also need to be prepared for a long fire season.
“Heed the advice. Don’t use the blade mowers or the blade trimmers and really avoid doing vegetation clearing on red flag days,” Vestal said. “Because you could also be held liable for that if a fire spreads from your property to another.”
A Metro Fire helicopter also assisted the Consumnes Fire Department in responding to an approximately 16-acre grass and brush fire near Sheldon Road and East Stockton Boulevard Monday afternoon. Forward progress of that fire has been stopped and its cause is still under investigation, however, one person was identified by witnesses at the scene and has been detained.