SUISUN CITY (CBS13) — Fire investigators in Suisun City are investigating a major brush fire that destroyed homes as reckless arson.
Three homes were destroyed in Wednesday’s fire, while another 11 others were damaged. Fanned by dry conditions, high temperatures, and wind, the fire burned more than 300 acres.
Investigators said on Thursday they found evidence of an illegal burn in the 10-foot tall brush behind the Suisun Wildlife Center. It appears to have been a make-shift grill, firefighters say.
“We have this mass devastation from somebody doing illegal burns in the hottest part of the day, in a highly vegetated area — when our winds pick up here, that’s a recipe for disaster,” said Justin Vincent, the Suisun City Fire Chief.
Chief Vincent said the fire is being investigated as arson and they are now looking for the suspects, whose names were not released.
The Suisun Wildlife Center had no knowledge of the illegal burn.
“We have had several fires here over the years But never this bad,” said Monique Liguori, the executive director of the Suisun Wildlife Center.
Liguori assessed the damage to the Suisun wildlife center just hours after the wildfire threatened to burn the entire place down.
“The scariest part was when we really couldn’t tell what was happening and if we were going to lose it all,” she said.
Several animals at the wildlife center died in the fire, including three owls and some squirrels.
Heidi McLean lost everything in the fire.
“It happened so fast and so quick and there was wind,” McLean said. “It was literally behind my house before I realized it. The only thing I could do was get my dog and get the hell out.”
McLean said neighbors have worked to battle fires in this area before. She suspects this one was from a homeless encampment.
“I wish them all the best. Police have been trying to shuffle them people out and make sure we are safe. All it takes is one for this to happen,” McLean said.
As of Thursday afternoon, the fire is under control. Firefighters will be monitoring the fire with bulldozers. It is expected to burn until tomorrow.