Suspicious fires set at Kelley Park in San Jose

SAN JOSE, Calif.

San Jose firefighters doused a smoking tree this morning, which was the last hot spot of the latest suspicious fire in Kelley Park.

"We heard a girl say 'fire, fire' and then we turned around and saw the smoke," said witness Tomas Montoya.

Montoya was on a job nearby when he noticed the fire.

"We saw the fire right away in a big circle, we started digging around to stop the fire," said Montoya.

Firefighters arrived quickly just after 7:30 a.m. to finish the job. The new fire was within last night's burn area, but the captain on the scene said it appears to be intentionally set. The same goes for the three fires that burned at least 12 acres last night.

"Certainly with multiple different locations it is suspicious. I can tell you that homeless encampments are a problem in the creek areas, but it is too early to make a determination that it is a homeless encampment," said San Jose Fire Captain Rob Brown.

Whoever is starting these fires, and whether they are accidental or intentional, this is a dangerous time. Even in the dark of night, fire officials know the weather is not on their side.

"This is the way it is in the summer. Certainly the fuels have been dry lately, the heat as we get hotter days like this the humidity starts going down, the fire danger goes up," said Brown.

Long before last night, this area has had a problem with homeless camps and fires. Brown said the fire department, the police department, environmental services and other agencies are working together to come up with a more long term solution to this ongoing problem and we should learn more about that solution this week.

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