Contra Costa County officials investigating string of small fires along trail as arson

The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District is investigating a string of small fires as arson.

The fires were set Monday afternoon just before 3:00 p.m., according to Con Fire Public Information Officer Steve Hill. It happened near Monument Blvd. on the border of Pleasant Hill and Concord, between Sherman Drive and Brookview Drive.

“There were multiple fires set along the trail and it was probably by someone who was moving quickly on the trail, perhaps on a bicycle,” Hill said.

The area is secluded and no cameras are around. The small fires threatened homes that back up to the trail and a creek.

“When fires occur in those areas, they are very dangerous,” Hill said. “This is not the place to be setting fires if that’s your bent. We have a really good track record of catching arsonists.”

Hill said the agency has caught 14 suspected arsonists since the start of the year for setting fires around the county.

It’s already been a challenging start to the fire season because of dry, windy conditions. In the month of June, the agency saw four times as many vegetation fires compared to last year. Hill said that is largely due to the weather and an uptick in the use of illegal fireworks.

“We don’t need any help from anyone starting these small fires,” he said. “This is not the time to be playing with fireworks or fire.”

Investigators questioned one person, but determined they were not connected to the intentionally set fires on the trail. Anyone with information on the suspected arsonist is asked to contact the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.