After several fires break out along highways residents worried about weeds on embankments

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The flames caused many to question the weeds that fueled those fires. (KFSN)

Detectives are still investigating eight grass fires that sparked Wednesday, many along Fresno highways.

The flames caused many to question the weeds that fueled those fires.

"The moment I went into the house, a few minutes later, had one of the neighbors come by and knock on the doors saying there was a fire that broke out," said Vang Vang, Southwest Fresno.

Vang ran into action as flames tore through weeds right next to his home.

"Saw a bunch of smoke and tried to do what we can with the garden hose. That was the only thing we had."

That was one of a number of highway fires that burned Wednesday night causing many to question all the weeds growing along the shoulders.

Vang said, "It is a problem that is arising and it's something that they should really look into."

Cal Trans is in charge of that land and so far, has done some work across town to replace weeds with mulch. It's all part of a program that includes spraying and some mowing.

"Problem is when it comes to weeds, a lot of our maintenance staff have been taken away from weed control because we've had to deal with things like litter control throughout the area, and because of the increased homeless population. Our maintenance crews have had to deal with that as well," said Cory Burkarth, Cal Trans.

Not to mention the fire hazard that comes with using a weed wacker.

"Through our area, we do have a lot of steep embankments, and certainly, we're not gonna be able to get tractors and other rolling equipment onto that. So it would require individuals to go and do that by hand," said Burkarth.

One spark can be the start of something disastrous which is why Cal Trans is urging people to consider the cause of these fires.

"They don't come out of nowhere, and that's why we ask the public to do their part. Not to litter, not to throw out discarded cigarettes, and if you see something call it in and report it," said Burkarth.

That includes trucks with loose chains dragging on the pavement.

Whether Wednesday night's fires were accidents or intentional-- Vang and his family are just glad they were able to respond.

"It could have been worse, but it is what it is. We're just happy that it didn't jump onto the house," said Vang.

Cal Trans recently finished up the mulch project across the freeway. Next, they move up to projects in Madera and plan to continue work down here in Fresno, soon after.
Related Topics:
newsfirehighway 99fresnoFresno - Southwest
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