Cal Fire: Transients frequent site of North Auburn blaze

Investigators still determining cause, any connection
By: Jon Schultz, Journal Staff Writer
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Officials are still investigating what caused a 2-acre grass fire Wednesday in a field that is surrounded by residences and businesses in North Auburn, said Daniel Berlant, Cal Fire public information officer, on Friday. Something investigators observed in the area of the fire led them to believe transients frequent the site, but any connection had yet to be determined, Berlant said. Cal Fire, Placer County Fire Department and Auburn Fire Department combined to dispatch six fire engines, one bulldozer and a few planes to the open field near Bell Road and Richardson Drive on Wednesday afternoon. The fire had been 75 percent contained in little more than an hour and fully extinguished by the evening. The field is dotted with trees and brush amid a thicket of high, dry grass. A trash heap appeared randomly piled near where a street dead-ends into the field. Multiple paths – firebreaks or otherwise – cut through the 10 acres or so of open land. Berlant said the threat of wildfires would remain high through the weekend and risk will stay elevated until temperatures cool and rain falls. “Because it’s so dry and the temperatures are way above average, the chances of fire in the Placer Country area remain very high right now, which is not typical for a fall-like week we’re moving into,” he said. “But that has really been the pattern all year long.” Compared to last year, Cal Fire has responded to 1,300 more fires and 80,000 more acres have burned statewide, Berlant said. Jon Schultz can be reached at