http://danvillesanramon.com/print/story/print/2009/07/24/juveniles-questioned-over-trail-fires


DanvilleSanRamon.com

Newsfront - July 24, 2009

Juveniles questioned over trail fires

San Ramon firefighters, residents put out grass fires

by Geoff Gillette

Fire crews from the San Ramon Fire Protection District were kept busy over the weekend, sometimes for nefarious reasons. Firefighters Saturday had to respond to several calls of grass fires springing up in the tinder dry vegetation along the Iron Horse Trail.

Battalion Chief Jack Barton said the fires were reported just before 5 p.m. Saturday afternoon. They ranged along the trail between Greenbrook Drive and the Bishop Ranch 15 office building, southeast of Crow Canyon Road.

"There's no specific cause that could be determined," Barton said. "But, three different fires right along the trail doesn't seem like a coincidence."

Crews had help from residents along the trail, including one homeowner who dragged her garden house out to help keep one blaze from spreading prior to the arrival of the fire trucks.

The largest area of the trail that burnt according to Barton was an area about 15 feet wide and 150 feet long.

After the incident was reported, San Ramon Police were looking for some juveniles seen in the area of the fires. An unknown number of youths were detained and were taken into custody by the East Bay Regional Park Police.

Barton said this time of year it is very important to be careful with fire and be very aware of the dry conditions. "As always be very careful with discarding smoking materials. We very nearly had a structure fire in Alamo because of discarded cigarettes."

Though many outdoor chefs have gone to gas grills, there are still many that use charcoal. Barton said that in either case there are things to be careful of there as well.

"Gas grills, you need to be sure they are functioning properly. With charcoal, the coals should be correctly disposed of. If those are done, there shouldn't be any concern," he explained.

Placement of the grills should be considered. They should not be placed too near to a structure, and should not be put in the yard, where a stray spark could ignite the dry grass.

Fireworks are always a concern at this time of year, but Barton said so far that has not been an issue. He said that other than the few days before and after July 4 there have been very few reports of fireworks throughout the area.

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