Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Homeless & Parkway Fires

Once again reporting what many have been saying for years regarding the origin of Parkway fires, adjacent neighborhood crimes, the public safety hazards involved in accessing the lower part of the Parkway around the North Sacramento Cal Expo and Midtown area, the Sacramento Bee publishes an excellent article in today’s paper.

An excerpt.

“As firefighters tried to tame a blaze Saturday along the lower stretch of the American River Parkway and as cars on Highway 160 slowed to watch a helicopter dart overhead to make a water drop, Ralph Plunkett stood in the shade of the overpass, his head bowed.

“It was too soon to tell what caused the fire that raced through the underbrush, shot into the treetops and charred a large swatch of land, but Plunkett, who lives nearby in a homeless camp, already knew whom most folks would suspect.

“The homeless are blamed for the trash, for the persistence of illegal camping, for scores of petty thefts in nearby neighborhoods, for bringing down property values and, in many cases, for the fires that dot the parkway landscape during the summer dry season.

"It's making us look bad as homeless people," said Plunkett, 48, who has been homeless most of the past eight years. "Yeah, it's probably a homeless person who did this, but it's not all of us."

"There are homeless everywhere you look around here," said Vincent Talancon, a member of a nearby neighborhood watch group. "I don't want to speculate, but 95 percent of these fires are started by them, either by accident or because they just want to see fire."