Parkway Fires

The important conclusion in this news story about Parkway fires from the Sacramento Bee is that most of the fires are in the North Sacramento/Cal Expo area of the Parkway, exactly where the concentration of illegal camping by the homeless is centered, while further upstream, in the County area of the Parkway, it is a normal fire season.

Some excerpts.

The American River Parkway is the crown jewel of Sacramento, a 23-mile stretch of forests, beaches, bike paths and hiking trails used by countless visitors each year.

It is also bone dry, and causing unprecedented headaches for area firefighters this year.

“We’ve had more multi-alarm fires in the last six months than we did in the last two years combined,” Sacramento Fire Department spokesman and firefighter Roberto Padilla said Friday.

Parkway advocates say firefighters have responded to 24 fires – 14 in the city jurisdiction alone – in the first half of the year, including blazes that have erupted from the unusually dry conditions caused by California’s historic drought….

The causes of the fires are the same as in past years – almost invariably they’re caused by humans. The county estimates that the parkway is visited 5 million times a year by parkway users; other estimates put the figure as high as 8 million. With that many visitors, the potential for fire is high, and almost anything can spark a blaze – a campfire set by homeless people, a barbecue set up on an island by weekend visitors, a cigarette butt carelessly discarded….

Battalion Chief Chris Quinn of the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District said his department has not yet seen an uptick in parkway fire in its jurisdiction in the county.

“I would say so far it appears to be a fairly routine summer,” Quinn said.

But, Quinn added, the department has continued its aggressive weed abatement program along the parkway to cut out excess fire fuel, especially the invasive yellow star thistle, which has been the target of eradication efforts for years.

Retrieved July 20, 2014 from

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
This entry was posted in ARPPS, History, Homelessness. Bookmark the permalink.