Increase in fires in Visalia keeping police and fire departments on alert

VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- A recent uptick in the number of fires in Visalia has the police and fire departments on high alert.

They're asking the community to be mindful of their actions and speak up if they see something.

"We would like to remind the public to have proper fire safety," says Visalia Police Sgt. Art Alvarez. "The Valley, as everyone knows, gets dry and has hot summers. With that, fires can start quickly and spread rapidly, causing a great problem for the Visalia Fire Department and surrounding agencies."

Many of the recent fires have sparked in dumpsters and open fields.

Officials say while most of them were controlled quickly, unfortunately, a dumpster fire in downtown Visalia earlier this month was not, leading to the destruction of three businesses.

RELATED: Man arrested in connection to fire that damaged 3 Visalia businesses

Sgt. Alvarez says someone's phone call can make all the difference.

"If they see any suspicious activity related to a fire, please call the communication center, 911 or the fire department," he said.

Since the downtown incident, mayor Steve Nelsen says they've been looking for ways to make a change.

"We will be handing these out to every merchant in the downtown district -- it's asking that they use the security set up of the dumpster, which means unlock, throw the trash and lock," he said.

Nelsen also echoes the importance of community members being careful with starting and disposing of fires correctly and keeping an eye out.

"Everyone just needs to be observant and keep an eye out," he said.

Fundraisers are still going on to help support the businesses impacted by the recent fire here in downtown Visalia.

RELATED: Visalia community supporting businesses impacted by fire
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