Brisbane burning for answers

Only yards away and hours apart, two grass fires that torched the city in recent days are being investigated by fire officials, who said the blazes are suspicious in nature.

The grass fires that blackened more than 8 acres in and around San Bruno Mountain on Monday and Tuesday are suspicious, fire investigators said, because of their proximity in time and place.

“You have two fires about a thousand yards apart on two consecutive days, it means we need to look very closely at it,” North County Fire Authority Deputy Chief Rich Johnson said.

He said fire inspectors were able to determine thegeneral area of origin for both grass fires, but are still trying to find any clues that may lead to conclude whether the consecutive fires were started by an arsonist.

Monday’s grass fire that began at 6 a.m. at San Bruno and Thomas avenues scorched an acre of land and injured a firefighter.

Tuesday’s three-alarm grass fire on the southeastern side of San Bruno Mountain, which began at noon, was contained by 4 p.m. with the help of more than 60 firefighters, two airplanes with fire retardant and a helicopter.

Although the fire spread rapidly due to 45-mph winds, the ground that was still moist from the winter helped contain it.

“The drought isn’t helping us, but the fact that it was early in the season and it wasn’t as dry, really helped us a lot,” Johnson said.

Causing gridlock on U.S. Highway 101 and scaring nearby residents, Tuesday’s fire threatened one home, but did not result in any injuries.

Johnson did not confirm whether or not arson was suspected as the likely cause.

“We are looking at connections between the two given they were so close to each other,” he said. “If we can tie any of it together, we can go that way. But we may never come up with an actual cause.”

The two grass fires were preceded Sunday by an apartment complex fire in the same area that displaced 11 residents. Fire Chief Ron Myers said the blaze was caused by an electrical short in the garage and was not related to the grass fires.

svasilyuk@sfexaminer.com  

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