ELK GROVE, Calif. — An arson suspect was arrested soon after firefighters stopped forward progress on a grass fire that sparked in Elk Grove on Monday, the Cosumnes Fire Department said.
The fire started just off Highway 99, in the area of Sheldon Road and E Stockton Boulevard, according to a tweet from the Cosumnes Fire Department.
Officials said that the fire grew to at least three acres in size. Forward progress on the fire was stopped around 4:30 p.m., and authorities said the threat to homes had been mitigated.
Just after 6 p.m., fire officials said, “a suspect was identified by witnesses at the scene and has been detained.” Authorities identified the suspect as 28-year-old John Gomez of Sacramento. Gomez was arrested for arson and booked into the Sacramento County Main Jail.
Sacramento Metro Fire's helicopter assisted in the firefight.
According to Cal Fire, 2020 was one of the most severe fire seasons on record as 9,917 wildfires burned 4.2 million acres. Over 9,000 structures were destroyed and 31 people (civilians and firefighters) were killed.
California also experienced its first "Gigafire" because of the August Complex Fire, burning over 1 million acres by itself. Four of California's top five largest wildfires in state history happened in 2020.
If you live in a wildfire-prone zone, Cal Fire suggests creating a defensible space around your home. Defensible space is an area around a building in which vegetation and other debris are completely cleared. At least 100 feet is recommended.
The Department of Homeland Security suggests assembling an emergency kit that has important documents, N95 respirator masks, supplies to grab with you if you’re forced to leave at a moment’s notice. The agency also suggests signing up for local warning system notifications and know your community’s evacuation plans to best prepare yourself and your family in cases of wildfires.
Some counties use Nixle alerts to update residents on severe weather, wildfires and other news. To sign up, visit www.nixle.com or text your zip code to 888777 to start receiving alerts.
PG&E customers can also subscribe to alerts via text, email or phone call. If you're a PG&E customer, visit the Profile & Alerts section of your account to register.
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The Sacramento Fire Department says that the fire would have easily been put out if there wasn't any wind.