Fresno Fire preparing for record-breaking year of fires

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Fresno Fire Department is being stretched thin.

The team is consisting of 81 people is working around the clock - serving the more than half a million residents in the City of Fresno.

Fresno Fire PIO Shane Brown says they've battled nearly 50 percent more fires this year compared to last year.

"Doesn't seem to be slowing down and we got this little swing with the cool weather, which we thought might bring a bit of a relief," he said.

Early Saturday morning - fire crews battled a structure fire in a southwest Fresno abandoned home.

ABC30's Downtown Fresno Skycam had the massive plume of smoke and flames coming from MLK and Garrett Avenues.

An hour later, crews needed three engines, two trucks and more than 15 firefighters to battle another fire in east central Fresno.

"Last year was the time we ever had a month with 500 fires," Brown said. "We had seven months last year with more than 500 fires and this year, every single month has had more than 500."

The department has never broken the record of 700 fires in a month. Fire crews have responded to 474 fires this month alone.

Putting them on pace to reach that 700 all-time record by the end of the month.

The city has had 2,801 fires to date, which is up 49.8 percent from last year.

Brown says 1,533 of those fires have had some form of homeless involvement, a problem the city has tried to tackle.

Earlier this year, Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer housed a couple of hundred people in city-owned motels as a part of his plan to help the homeless population and clean up Highway 41.

"We know that the work that they've done on the highways has absolutely dropped the volume of calls in those areas, but in the meantime, there are other pockets within the city where the homeless encampments have grown," Brown said.
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