Petaluma homeowner puts out small brush fire before it spreads

A homeowner in Petaluma was able to put out a small brush fire before it grew out of control. The incident comes as state officials warned the public about potential fire dangers this holiday weekend.

"They heard a pop, pop and the next thing you know, the grass was on," said Suzanne Monte.

Thursday’s small brush fire in the 200 block of Gossage Way sent Monte's family running for water.

"My husband works for the Southern Marin Fire District. He and my father put it out before fire crews arrived," she said. "We’ve got a spigot of water out by our patio, so I could see him filling it up with water and then rushing over to the field. They used two five gallon buckets."

The fire was contained to a five by five area along a fence line. Firefighters sprayed the charred ground as a precaution.


CalFire highlights new high-tech tools, warns of hot July 4 weekend

Heading into a hot holiday weekend, state fire officials are worried about abundant dry brush that has exploded across the state after months of historic winter storms earlier this year and how it may affect this year's fire season.

"It totally took us by surprise," said Monte. "We don’t know what cause it. At first, we thought it was sparks from the power line, but we don’t know."

Neighbors along with the Montes told KTVU they’re just glad the fire didn’t spread, especially with dry vegetation in the area.

"I have stones along my property," Bob Fipolli said. "It’s to stop any embers from causing more problems."

Neighbors said they’re baffled by the fire, seeing how most people in the area are good about cutting back their tall, dry grass.

"I just had mine cut," said Mike Bogyo. "Fire is always a concern in Sonoma County, but we do a pretty good job of keeping everything away from the houses and the grass cut."

The grass where the fire broke out was relatively short. The fire happened hours after Gov. Gavin Newsom met with Cal Fire leaders to highlight new technology they're rolling out in preparation for wildfire season.

"We're meeting, dare I say, the moment addressing the nature of the change in the extreme, uh, extremes that we're now challenged within this state," Newsom said.

Heading into the hot holiday weekend, state fire officials said they’re worried about abundant dry brush that’s exploded across the state after months of historic winter storms earlier this year. That now dry vegetation is expected to impact this year’s fire season.

"The sources of fuel for wildfires are becoming more susceptible to burning," said Cal Fire Director and Fire Chief Joe Tyler, with regard to the excessive brush that has grown since this year.

Cal Fire said it is deploying a new fleet of "fire hawk" aircraft that are equipped with infrared technology to detect fires in real-time. The fire hawks are also able to fly at night to monitor conditions. In addition to aircraft, Cal Fire said it’s fully staffed for the weekend ahead.

The agency said even though California had a stormy winter, scientists do not expect it to completely erase our wildfire risk.

Back in Petaluma, local fire districts told KTVU they too are ready for any fires that might pop up. They’re reminding people to cut back any tall, dry grass and be mindful of the danger fireworks play.

"We just need neighbors to cut the grass," said Mike Bogyo. "Cut that grass and not shoot off any bottle rockets."