California wildfire spurs reports of illegal backfires by citizens, triggering probe
“We have turned the corner on the fire as a whole,” Cal Fire division chief Ben Nicholls said during a briefing in Sonoma County.
Over the weekend, Cal Fire that it was investigating reports of private citizens lighting backfires of their own to keep property from being burned up in the Glass Fire.
The agency told KTVU it could not confirm whether the reports were coming from Napa or Sonoma County.
But Cal Fire spokesman Scott McLean told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat the blazes were serious because hot, dry conditions mean such fires could quickly get out of control.
“You just don’t arbitrarily put fire on the ground without notification. There’s so much danger to that,” McClean told the paper. “There’s always reaction to that action, that’s how serious it is.”
Backfires can be effective but risky, with officials saying they should only be conducted by those who are properly trained with sufficient resources.
Over 2,700 fire personnel are involved in the battle against the blaze, with some 408 fire engines deployed in the fight against the two-county blaze, according to the agency.
The blaze started on Sept. 27 in the early-morning hours. A cause has not yet been determined.
The blaze has destroyed some 553 homes, with 297 in Sonoma County and 256 in Napa County have been lost so far. The wildfire is still threatening over 21,000 structures, according to fire officials.
Dry conditions continue for the western U.S. on Tuesday, which is not helping the wildfire danger across the region.Private citizens are reportedly lighting their own fires to keep their property from burning up
Air quality alerts are still in effect for parts of California, Oregon, and Colorado due to the smoke spreading from the current wildfires burning.
Fox News’ Janice Dean contributed to this report.