Fire officials urge year-round vigilance following brief brush-fire scare

A Los Angeles County Fire Department truck moves quickly to scene. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Los Angeles County firefighters from Station No. 132 responded to reports of an outdoor fire at around 10:45 a.m. Saturday along Soledad Canyon Road in Canyon Country, according to Supervising Fire Dispatcher Ed Pickett.

After a brief investigation, they determined that the flames had come from a hiker who had lit a small refuse fire along the roadway. Luckily, the fire didn’t spread into the surrounding brush.

The hiker was questioned by deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, but ultimately no arrests were made and no citations were issued, according to sheriff’s Lt. Ethan Marquez. 

Deputies search through the bag of a hiker suspected of setting a small fire near Soledad Canyon Road Saturday morning. January 11, 2020. Bobby Block / The Signal.

“Only have a fire in an approved fire pit,” said Sean Ferguson, Los Angeles County Fire Department public information officer, who cautioned residents to remain vigilant about fire safety, even during cold winter months.

Of particular concern, he said, were house fires sparked by space heaters.

“They scare the heck out of me,” Ferguson said, referring to space heaters. “Each winter, the Los Angeles County Fire Department responds to numerous fires that are started by the improper use of space heaters.”

In 2017 alone, the department responded to more than 1,900 structure fires, according to an official report released by the office of the fire chief.

To prevent these winter-time blazes, Ferguson recommends that residents keep their space heaters on level, non-flammable surfaces and that they keep them away from their children and pets. 

He also suggested that they blow out candles and turn off any decentralized heating devices before leaving their homes.

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