Fresno City Fire Department bracing for record-breaking year of fires

There have been more than 600 fires in the city of Fresno this month alone, and crews are worried the worst is yet to come.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- There have been more than 600 fires in the city of Fresno this month alone, and crews are worried the worst is yet to come.

"We are on track right now to break every record we've ever set for fire calls in the city of Fresno," said Shane Brown, spokesperson for the Fresno City Fire Department.

As of Wednesday morning, there have been 2,267 fires since the start of the year.

During the same time period last year, there were 1,489 fires, a 52.2% increase year over year.

"Based on these numbers, the trends, looking at how it's working right now, it's not out of the question that we may run 6,000 to 7,000 fires this year." Brown said.

Officials can't pinpoint a specific reason for the rise in fires, but say homelessness is contributing to it.

Of the more than 2,200 fires crews have seen so far this year, more than half have been caused by people experiencing homelessness.

An interactive map on the department's website shows those fires have happened all across the city.

Brown pointed out the fires tend to be along the highways.

He expects to see those incidents decrease throughout the year thanks to the city's clean up efforts, but says the latest numbers are staggering.



There were more than 600 fires this month. That's only the second time the city has seen that many fires in a single month since 2009.

The last time was July of 2020 when fireworks were a major factor.

"It's alarming to see that the numbers are jumping at this rate." Brown said.

Brown says staffing is also limited.

They're awaiting approval for a federal grant that would allow the department to hire 40 more firefighters.

In the meantime, they're bracing for what's to come.

"We anticipate a very, very busy summer season," Brown said.

Officials said as we head to the warmest months of the year, it's more important than ever to make sure you have and know how to use a fire extinguisher.

They also suggest checking your smoke detector and changing the battery.

For those who have vegetation around their home, officials remind them to create defensible space.
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