FRESNO, California (KSEE) – The Fresno Fire department is busy keeping the city safe and responding to so many fires that the sheer number is breaking records.
“We found that the numbers are alarming to say it nicely,” said Shane Brown, the public Information Officer, Fresno Fire Department.
There’s been an explosive surge of fire activity within the city of Fresno–four structure fires happening on Wednesday –including this three alarm blaze on Belmont near San Pablo avenues.
A witness reportedly saw someone starting the fire. There are several homeless camps in the area.
“Sounds like year-to-date, meaning here it’s July 30, we have responded to as many fires overall as we did all of last year,” said Jay Tracy, the deputy fire marshall for Fresno Fire department.
Fresno Fire uses a data tracking program called the NFIRS standing for National Fire Incident Reporting System as a way to capture the most accurate information .
“This month, we actually shattered the record for both the total fire calls run in a month and for the total vegetation fires run in a month and we still have today’s data and tomorrow’s data to calculate in,” said Brown.
In May the department responded to 524 fires, but, now that record has been shattered by 608 fire calls in July and firefighters say the main cause is the homeless.
“A 75.4% increase in fire activity and that’s all due to homelessness. Typically in the encampments, specifically on the highway it’s just been really problematic this year.”
Brown says that means a concerted effort to get people off the streets of Fresno.
“It’s to understand the problem so we can help mitigate it.”