INFERNO – Woman’s Car Catches FIRE!

Fire season is all lit up and business is booming for the busy Fresno Fire department, as the hills and fields in California’s Central Valley dry out with the warming weather. Grass fires are a constant even this time of year, some started by accident from workers or badly-parked vehicles or campfires, some by trash left in fields that concentrates the sun’s heat, some by lightning strikes, and many—far too many—started by arsonists.

One fire has given arson investigators in the city cause for concern. Monday afternoon saw the breakout of a large grass fire that, fortunately, injured nobody and damaged no buildings.

The fire started at two o’clock in the afternoon on Bryan Avenue south of Ashland, according to Fresno Fire Department spokesman Josh Sellers. It was one of a series of fires that kept fire crews busy throughout Monday. Over the last few years, the department has averaged a thousand grass fire calls per year. This year, said Sellers, is already shaping up to be a busy season, and fire crews are doing their best to prepare for the rush. New staffing and new equipment has reinforced the department compared to last year—these new resources make it easier to more quickly get fires under control.

But, Sellers says, the department can’t protect the public without the public’s help. He encouraged all residents to do their part by clearing vegetation and brush away from homes and other structures. Better efforts by the city to maintain the energy infrastructure will also help reduce fire risk, as will reporting efforts by citizens. Citizens are encouraged to report dangerous or downed power lines and other hazards, and to report fires as early as possible.

As for the big grass fire on Monday, the arsonist’s vehicle was caught on camera, and investigators are searching for it. Investigators—as well as police—are seeking the public’s health in identifying the car and its owner.