Series of fires along Fresno freeways keep Firefighters busy

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Fresno fire officials are investigating a series of grass fires that sparked throughout the city. (KFSN)

Multiple house fires and a string of grass fires along Highway 99 had Fresno firefighters stretched thin and calling for backup. First responders said at one point they were dealing with eight working fires.

The majority of calls came in around 8:00 p.m. for fires along Highway 99, which made it an extremely busy three hours. Then just hours later, around 11 o'clock on Wednesday, more fires emerged along Highway 180 and Highway 168. All of the fires were extinguished by around 1:30 a.m. on Thursday. Investigators say the fires all appear to be similar, leading them to believe someone may be to blame for starting them.

Looking into the distance on Highway 99. an orange haze appeared to engulf the city. Meanwhile, across Fresno, firefighters were being inundated by the workload.

"Not only are we working, but there's still fires, calls that continue to pop up. Just heard another call for service, so-- sometimes all the ingredients of a perfect storm align and we find ourselves in these situations," said Lawrence French, Battalion Chief.
Within minutes of grassfire's popping up along the freeway calls started coming in about two residential fires. One on College Avenue involved a duplex.

"It created a lot of congestion, to our dispatch center as well as our responding resources," said French.

Firefighters say at a certain point, there were several different calls for fires. Almost all the equipment in the city was being used and the department had to stop running medical calls.

After mopping up one residential fire, crews had to go attend to the next one.

"We saved a great deal of property here we're gonna reload our tools and our equipment and we're gonna get the crews in service as quickly as possible and get ready for the next one," said French.

Fresno had to request mutual aid from several different departments to help with city coverage.

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Fresno Fire has been working on two residential fires and two confirmed grass fires.

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