Fires

After delay, Sacramento continues controlled burns to ward off 'catastrophic' fires

Controlled Fires on Lower American River Parkway

Firefighters control the first of the week's controlled burns on the Lower American River Parkway. These grass fires, which will range from 5 to 10 acres, are intended to reduce the risk of dangerous wildfires later in the year, the SFD said.
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Firefighters control the first of the week's controlled burns on the Lower American River Parkway. These grass fires, which will range from 5 to 10 acres, are intended to reduce the risk of dangerous wildfires later in the year, the SFD said.

The Sacramento Fire Department resumed its regimen of controlled fuel reduction burns Tuesday morning, spokesman Keith Wade said.

Wade explained that the department wants to burn weeds and grasses in the Lower American River Parkway now to "avoid catastrophic wildfires that might come later in the season."

The burns are scheduled to take place from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every day this week, Wade said. However, air quality issues prevented the Fire Department from starting Tuesday's burn until 10:30 a.m.

The grass was too wet to begin the burns two weeks ago, as the fire department had initially planned. Soon, the Sacramento Fire Department expects day-to-day temperatures will be too hot for the burns to be conducted safely. That means the fire department's last window to complete their controlled burns ends Sunday, Wade said.

The Fire Department received a permit to burn about 100 acres of land in the area. But Wade said he expects to cover only four or five acres Tuesday. The risk of a temperature inversion, which would trap smoke from the burns under a layer of cooler air and thus affect locals with asthma or other breathing problems, slowed the department down Tuesday.

Wade expects air quality issues to only increase with the ensuing heat wave.

If the department isn't able to conduct controlled burns over the entire 100 acres, the city of Sacramento will use alternative methods, such as grazing animals, to reduce the amount of brush vegetation that could otherwise become wildfire kindling, Wade said.

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