FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – Grass fires on Highway 99 in Fresno threatened an animal shelter and staff took action to protect the facility Wednesday morning.
According to the Fresno Fire Department, at around 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, several grass fires started along Highway 99 between Belmont Avenue and Highway 180.
Two of those fires started near Highway 99 and Nielsen, where the Fresno Humane Animal Services shelter is located parallel to the highway. The fires burned a few meters from the kennels and the main office of the shelter.
âWe just used the hoses from here, threw them over the fence and tried to get them out,â said Angela Brumm, a staff member at Fresno Humane Animal Services.
Brumm said she and her team used hoses and fire extinguishers to put out two grass fires that reached the fence at the animal shelter. About ten staff members managed to put out the fires before reaching the shelter.
âOur kennel supervisor was back here,â said Brumm. “He heard something rattling like maybe a chain on a truck, then you could hear the crackle of the grass catching fire.”
This indicates that the fire may have been caused by sparks from a chain dragging behind a truck. A spokesperson for the Fresno Fire Department said it could be a possibility, but said the cause of the fires was still under investigation.
âThe first reports were that someone may have started them, but we couldn’t verify that,â said Jonathan Lopez, public information manager for the Fresno Fire Department.
Lopez says the dry conditions make the grass along the Central Valley highways particularly prone to fires.
âIn cases like these, sometimes it can be all kinds of different causes,â Lopez said. “It could be a chain dragging along the road, it could be a carelessly thrown cigarette butt.”
No injuries or structural damage were reported as a result of the fires.