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Firefighters Investigate Four Fires Near Homeless Encampments

Fire Chief Chris Gray says vegetation fires were in open space adjacent to the railroad tracks between buildings on Francisco West and Anderson Drive.

San Rafael Fire Department officials are investigating a series of vegetation fires that occurred early Sunday morning in an open space area behind the businesses like and on Francisco Blvd. West, according to Fire Chief Chris Gray.

At approximately 12:30 a.m. Sunday morning, a vegetation fire was reported in in the area near Francisco Blvd. West at Rice Drive, and fire crews under the command of San Rafael Battalion Chief Jeff Buscher found a total of four separate vegetation fires along open space adjacent to the railroad tracks between buildings on Francisco West and Anderson Drive.

Four engine units were dispatched to the scene and Gray said firefighters quickly attacked the fires to limit the threat they posed to surrounding buildings despite conditions involving challenging accessibility and fires in multiple locations.

The exact cause of the fires is under investigation, Gray said, though he noted that firefighters responded to several fires in the general area last weekend that may have been attributed to encampments. San Rafael fire crews also responded to a number of brush fires in the same area in May and June 2011.

No damage or loss to structures occurred and there was no civilian or firefighter injuries.

With an abundance of vegetation this year due to the rainfall, residents and businesses are encouraged to maintain defensible space around their homes, Gray said. Residents should be vigilant concerning potential conditions or activity that could result in a fire and to contact the fire department for questions or assistance.

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