Sonoma County

Investigation Underway After Multiple Suspicious Fires Break Out in Sonoma County

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Firefighters late Monday contained a series of small fires that broke out in the Healdsburg area of Sonoma County, Cal Fire said, and officials are calling them suspicious.

The first call came in at 8:10 p.m., and the last one was reported sometime around 10 p.m., according to Cal Fire. About 15 fires were reported, all were relatively small in size, such as 1-2 acres.

“Within a half-mile of my house, which is in a very densely populated neighborhood, I saw an entire hillside that was burned up as if somebody was trying to create dangerous situations for the residents," Healdsburg resident Dave Gonzalez said.

There were no known electrical problems in the area. No evacuations were issued, and no structures were threatened, Cal Fire said. The blazes are under investigation.

State Sen. Mike McGuire called the fires suspicious and told residents to be vigilant. Any suspicious activity should be reported immediately to the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office at the non-emergency number: 707-565-2121. Or call 911 in an emergency.

Fire officials on Tuesday were trying to determine what sparked more than a dozen fires in the Healdsburg area in just a couple of hours. Sharon Katsuda reports.

“It’s alarming. It's dry here and we’ve seen a lot of fire,” said Cathy Brandau. “There’s no wind so how did it just start up? It seems to me like something happened. You can blame anybody but …”

Many residents feel like the fires are suspicious because so many happened within a short period of time.

Cal Fire officials aren’t calling them suspicious yet. They will only say that the fires are under investigation.

“No idea what started those fires, it's a process we use with scientific methodology. Make sure we approach each fire in an unbiased manner,” said Ben Nicholls of Cal Fire.

Fire investigators spent daylight hours gathering evidence along Healdsburg Avenue. Late in the evening, local firefighters cut away burned trees making sure no hotspots were left behind.

Healdsburg has been hit with major wildfires in recent years. The most recent was the Walbridge Fire sparked by lightning last summer.

An investigation could take weeks or even months. 

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