Homeless encampment causes acre large vegetation fire alongside freeway Saturday evening

On Saturday, April 23rd, 2022, at 5:56 pm, the Turlock Fire Department was dispatched to a reported vegetation fire across the street from Valley Industrial Park, 401 S Walnut Rd, Turlock.

When firefighters arrived on scene, they found an approximately acre large vegetation fire burning alongside the freeway on the embankment across the street from the location.

Firefighters immediately began fire attack and were able to bring the fire under control within about fifteen minutes and then fully extinguish it shortly thereafter. A good samaritan with a shovel also assisted in firefighting efforts.

The fire is believed to have been started at the homeless encampment just east of S Walnut Rd alongside the railroad tracks. An employee of a nearby business claimed that a transient had started the fire, however, was not able to specify exactly how.

The fire caused a large amount of smoke which resulted in a traffic hazard on the freeway, so the California Highway Patrol responded to provide traffic control. The Turlock Police Department also provided traffic control on surface streets to allow firefighters to work.

The exact cause of the fire remains unknown.

No injuries were reported.

Anyone with information that could assist in the investigation is encouraged to call the Stanislaus Regional Fire Investigations Unit at 209-525-5537.

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