Multiple fires deemed 'suspicious'
by Brooke Borba | Patterson Irrigator
Jul 15, 2013 | 3222 views | 1 1 comments | 59 59 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rick Reis / Courtesy Photo
Rick Reis / Courtesy Photo
The West Stanislaus County Fire Protection District and CAL Fire agencies were called in at roughly 3:25 p.m. on Friday, July 12 to extinguish a large blaze that erupted in the savannah west of Patterson, near Interstate 5.

CAL Fire calculated that nearly 127 acres of land were lost off the Westside of Diablo Grande’s parkway, nearly a mile from the I-5 Patterson exit. The cause of the fire is yet to be determined and is currently under investigation by CAL Fire authorities.

CAL Fire wield two air tankers, two helicopters, three hand crews, three dozers and six fire engines to douse the flames, according to Division Fire Chief Jeff Breasher.

Despite the magnitude of the fire, no other authorities were called to the scene beside Patterson Fire, which provided three fire engines, a water tender and 12 staff members.

“There is still quite a bit of vegetation left considering how fast the fire came along,” said Breasher. “It burned rapidly, and when the winds picked up, it was explosive the way the fire took off up the canyons. If it wasn’t for the dozers or air tankers, it could have been worse.”

The air tankers predicted the flames could have potentially engulfed 1,000 acres if the team had not act quickly, said Breasher.

“The hills were steep, so we decided to let it burn up the mountain so we could have better control of the flames. The aircrafts did a great job,” said Breasher.

Firefighters were called off the scene at roughly 8 p.m. that evening.

Although CAL Fire is still gathering evidence for the ongoing investigation, Breasher believes “someone who was being malicious or careless” sparked the flames.

Breasher’s theory stems from a series of calls that have been reported near Diablo Grande this past weekend, which allude to sporadic man-made fires.

Recent fires deemed ‘suspicious’

Patterson Fire was called in, yet again, to investigate and extinguish two fires near Diablo Grande’s parkway at 12 a.m. and 2 a.m. Sunday morning.

“One was a spot fire, nearly three square feet,” said Breasher, who quickly doused the flames with his team. “The second one burned about an eighth to a quarter of an acre.”

Three engines, one of which provided by the California Department of Forestry, were called to the scene, and quickly snuffed out the fire before it could spread any further.

Although firefighters are unsure if there are any links between the three fires, they believe the fires to be man-made. Local firefighters also encourage citizens and the security members who man the gates near Diablo Grande’s residencies to keep a watchful eye out for any suspicious activity.

Contact Brooke Borba at 892-6187, ext. 24, or
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July 16, 2013
Welcome to the Irrigator Brooke. Good article.

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