December and January are the busiest months for Fresno firefighters. Here's why.

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If the Fresno fire department had a new year's resolution -- it would be to lower the number of structure fires.

There are about one to three on any given day -- and this is the most active time of year.

As the year winds down, the work load is just beginning to build for Fresno Fire.

In the last two to three years, the department's been burdened by an increase of structure fires -- with no obvious solution in sight.

"We've got a significant fire problem, particularly in the south, southeast area of the city," says Rich Cabral of the Fresno Fire Department.

Deputy Chief Cabral is in charge of crunching the numbers.

He says historically economically depressed communities have always been the most vulnerable -- but recently, the problem's been exacerbated by vacant homes.

"December and January tend to be our busiest months, you can relate that directly to the need for heat," he explains.

Firefighters say more and more often, the homeless are breaking into empty buildings to start warming and cooking fires.

Crews are doing their best to board up abandoned homes.

Code enforcement is going after landowners.

But the number of structure fires at 987 is still around the same as last year.

"This is going to have to be a holistic approach, we are going to have to be very strategic about it," he said.

The fire department is already planning on working more with council and community groups in the new year.

The fire department is trying to end the year with some good news.

There have been no fire related deaths this year.

Last year, there were nine.
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