A fire that started when a lawnmower sparked dry grass in a field in the Sheldon area of Elk Grove burned through 12 acres and threatened nearby homes before firefighters could control the blaze Monday afternoon.
The grass fire destroyed a storage shed and a boat, and charred a long stretch of fence separating properties on the 8400 block of Excelsior Road, but the Cosumnes Fire Department was able to stop it from damaging houses, battalion chief Rick Clarke said. No injuries were reported.
Neighbors across the street rushed to stop the fire from reaching the home of the property owner, who was not at home when the fire started, according to Mike Kelly, 55.
“Everybody around brought hoses and ran over here,” said Kelly, while watering down the scorched fence. “It was a great neighbor effort. Everybody did a great job.”
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Kelly said he thinks the man who was mowing may have been hired by the property owner, but wasn’t sure. The owner declined to comment.
About 45 firefighters from around the area responded to fight the blaze, Clarke said, and a helicopter and bulldozer were also used. Afterward, firefighters were mopping up and spraying foam on the burnt grass.
Capt. Kirk Steele said the fire moved at a moderate rate of speed, but it took some time for firefighters to knock it down because of several difficult access points. He had some advice for other property owners: “Don’t mow lawns in 95-degree heat.”
Clarke said the cause of the fire was still under investigation, but Steele and various neighbors all said the lawnmower was the culprit.