Crime - Sacto 911

Fire officials say ‘moonshine’ operation sparked fire along American River Bike Trail

Fire, sheriff’s and State Parks officials investigate the scene of a grass fire sparked by an alcohol-cooking operation along the Amercian River Bike Trail in Orangevale.
Fire, sheriff’s and State Parks officials investigate the scene of a grass fire sparked by an alcohol-cooking operation along the Amercian River Bike Trail in Orangevale. Photo courtesy Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District

A “moonshine” operation was blamed for a small grass fire along the American River Bike Trail in the Orangevale area Wednesday morning.

Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District crews were dispatched to the Mississippi Bar area about 10:45 a.m. and found a small grass fire approximately 150 to 200 yards from the bike trail. The fire was quickly extinguished and burned only a small area, about 100 feet by 100 feet, according to a Fire District news release.

Once the fire was contained, firefighters located a suspicions cooking operation in the burn area. Metro Fire’s hazardous materials unit responded, along with the Sacramento County Sheriff Department’s explosive ordnance detail, and representatives of California State Parks and California Office of Emergency Services.

Fire crews and sheriff’s officers worked to determine what the devices were and whether they presented any hazard. What initially was thought to be an illegal methamphetamine lab included two household-size pots, tubes running between the pots, and lids with rocks on top to create pressure, along with other items to support a cooking operation.

Further examination showed that the items were being used for an illegal alcohol-cooking, or a moonshine operation, because all the product in and around the pots was sugar-based, rather than chemical-based, fire officials said.

Once the contents of the pots were determined to be non-hazardous, they were destroyed.

No structures were threatened by the fire, and there were no injuries.

Fire officials ask individuals to report any suspicious activities to authorities as soon as possible. Anyone with information regarding possible suspects in Wednesday’s fire is asked to contact the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.

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