Fire scorches 16 acres in canyon

By: Gloria Beverage
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A five-alarm blaze burned 16 acres along the American River Parkway last Thursday evening resulting in traffic jams at the beginning of Sutter Street's Thursday Night Market. The fire, which started along the bike path behind the City of Folsom's Corporation Yard near River Way, destroyed a storage shed housing maintenance equipment, reported Folsom Fire Marshall John Haberek. Firefighters responded within minutes of the first call at 5:45 p.m. "We had it controlled fairly quickly within the first hour with a line around the entire fire," he continued. About 120 firefighters from Folsom, Sac Metro and Cal Fire (formerly California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection) as well as the Bureau of Land Management worked for three hours to get the blaze under control. "It was a unified effort," Haberek continued. Tankers and helicopters from Cal Fire dropped retardant and water on the fire, while a bulldozer from Sac Metro was brought in to create fire breaks. In addition, several engines were parked on River Way to protect homes being threatened by the fire, Haberek said. He also acknowledged the assistance of Folsom Police and California Highway Patrol officers as well as Citizens' Academy volunteers. Sac Metro and Folsom Fire engine companies remained on the scene through Friday watching for hot spots and monitoring smoldering trees. "We haven't determined the cause of the fire," Haberek said Friday afternoon. "We're investigating the possibility of an intentional fire." Some residents have reported seeing three teenage boys, ages 14 to 16, leaving the area around the time the fire started, he continued. "Contact the Folsom Police Department if you have any information," he said. Haberek urges residents to take precautions to protect their homes. "This could be one of the worst fire seasons we've ever had," he said. It's critical that residents create a fire break of at least 30 feet between their homes and wildlands, he stressed.