Sacramento fire officials addressing ‘uptick’ in fires at homeless encampments this winter

‘We don’t want these fires to further extent into maybe a vehicle or someone’s house,’ the Sacramento Fire Department said.

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — As the temperatures cool down this winter, fire officials in Sacramento are expecting to deal with more fires caused by homeless individuals.

The Sacramento Fire Department sees an increase in encampment fire incidents between November and February. While unhoused people are allowed to set fires for warmth and food, the flames can get dangerous if they get out of hand.

“A lot of times, these fires are really close to tents or other belongings, and just a smaller ember cast into that tent can light that tent on fire. They’re just usually nylon, so they’re very flammable,” Sacramento Fire Spokesperson Justin Sylvia said. “We don’t want these fires to further extend into maybe a vehicle or someone’s house.”

To prevent that, Sylvia said there are certain recommendations those experiencing homelessness should follow when it comes to setting fires:

  • Use a metal/combustible container, just as a grill or dryer drum
  • Create a 25-foot clearance area around the fire
  • Flames should be less than three feet tall

“That way, it’s going to do its job, serve its purpose, for cooking food and keeping you warm, but it’s also going to keep you safe and not catch other belongings on fire,” Sylvia said.

Click here to read the full article in KCRA

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