Fires

Sacramento Fire Department responded to nearly 50 incidents on windy Wednesday

The Sacramento Fire Department reported on social media that crews responded to 48 fires or fire-related incidents between Wednesday and Thursday morning.

The remarkable total came between 8 a.m. Wednesday and 8 a.m. Thursday, when Sacramento along with most of interior Northern California experienced some of the gustiest conditions of the year. Wind gusts peaked at nearly 30 mph in several areas within Sacramento County and inside city limits.

Those winds, combined with low humidity, prompted red flag warnings by the National Weather Service across most of Northern California, advising of high fire risk. The red flag warning for the Sacramento Valley remains in place through 9 p.m. Thursday.

Of the 48 fire incidents within Sacramento city limits, at least six were structure fires - three residential fires and three commercial fires – and many of the remaining 32 incidents were vegetation fires, according to the the fire department’s tweet. No injuries were reported in any of the incidents.

Fire department spokesman Capt. Keith Wade said that six grass fires breaking out on the lower American River Parkway over a short period Wednesday morning are being investigated as suspicious. None of the six fires were bigger than an acre, Wade said.

Another grass fire, starting 4 a.m. Thursday near the 8000 block of La Riviera Drive and spread quickly due to wind.

A fire at a U-Haul storage facility on Florin Road also ignited overnight, the Fire Department said.

The fire department extinguished a residential fire early Thursday in the 5000 block of J Parkway, posting video to social media that showcased high morning winds. Trees, flames and smoke billowing from the rooftop can all be seen blowing with intensity in the video. The fire was knocked down by 7 a.m., and one person was displaced.

Fire crews also responded to an apartment fire at a single unit of an eight-unit complex in the 300 block of 34th Street, reported about 8:30 p.m. The fire was contained to that unit and extinguished.

Another two-story apartment building, this one reported at about 6:15 p.m. in the 4500 block of Stockton Boulevard, required evacuation after reports of heavy smoke. Yet another fire, early Wednesday afternoon in the 5000 block of 10th Avenue, burned two sheds and a fence at a private residence. The residence itself was undamaged, the Fire Department said in a tweet.

The dispatch rate Wednesday and early Thursday meant Sacramento crews were responding, on average, to one new incident every 30 minutes.

For comparison, Wade reported this summer that Sacramento crews responded to 73 fire-related calls during nighttime hours on the Fourth of July - historically, the department’s busiest day of fire activity each year by far.

State agency Cal Fire, meanwhile, responded to a little over 200 fires across its entire jurisdiction on Wednesday, Chief Thom Porter said in a tweet. Only one of those fires igniting that day - the Cross Fire in Monterey County - exceeded 10 acres, Porter said.

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Michael McGough anchors The Sacramento Bee’s breaking news reporting team, covering public safety and other local stories. A Sacramento native and lifelong capital resident, he interned at The Bee while attending Sacramento State, where he earned a degree in journalism.
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