Firefighters and residents concerned as more grass and vegetation fires ignite across the Valley

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Fresno firefighters put out a 10 acre grass fire that sparked near Highway 180 and Hughes Avenue Wednesday. (KFSN)

Fresno firefighters put out a 10 acre grass fire that sparked near Highway 180 and Hughes Avenue Wednesday. Investigators believe the vegetation blaze was caused by someone who was helping his neighbor cut the grass.

It was the time of day, though, they say contributed to the disaster.

"Unfortunately he was doing it later on in the afternoon and the machinery caused a spark and ignited a 10 acre grass fire," said Hector Vasquez, Fresno Fire.

Vasquez said this year crews have been responding to more grass fires than usual. Last year, between June and August, there were nearly 400 vegetation fires and a total of 621 for the entire year.

But this year, Fresno Fire has responded to about 200 grass fires-- resulting in a 47-percent increase which ties up the department's resources.

"These resources are tied up for extended periods which limits our response to other incidents that happen," said Vasquez.

So far, Clovis Fire has responded to over 130 grass fire calls this year. Chad Fitzgerald said the department over the last couple months has worked to keep that number down.

"We've sent out a 150 property notices to properties letting them know it's that time of the year again and please have your property cleared within the next 20 days and notifying them of the process if they fail to abate the weeds."

Meantime, firefighters said there are three easy tips to keep in mind to avoid vegetation fires. The first, cutting down tall grass, tree limbs, and weeds. Also refrain from clearing brush in afternoon hours when temperatures are warmer. Lastly, do not throw cigarettes out of the window or have chains dragging on the road which can start sparks and cause a fire.

Firefighters also said with the fourth of July coming up, be cautious about lighting fireworks near grassy areas.

Related Topics:
newswildfirefirefresno countyFresnoClovis
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