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Propane torch for weed burning sparks Sonoma Valley grass fire

RANDI ROSSMANN,

As Sunday’s temperature in the Sonoma Valley soared toward 100 degrees, a homeowner using a propane torch to burn weeds touched off a small grass fire, according to a Sonoma Valley fire official Monday.

It was 99 degrees at 12:17 p.m. when firefighters and six engines from Sonoma Valley, Cal Fire and the Sonoma Developmental Center in Eldridge, headed for the fire up Morningside Mountain Drive above Arnold Drive.

The first engine arrived in seven minutes to find a small area of burning grass on a residential property. The fire was stopped at about 1/4 acre.

The cause was the weed burning, said Sonoma Valley fire Battalion Chief Bob Norrbom.

Firefighters frequently issue safety warnings about not putting hot ashes in plastic or other combustible containers, leaving oil-soaked rags where they can combust or leaving flammable items on heaters.

Monday, Norrbom added propane torch-weed burning warning to the list.

“That is something we do not recommend at any time, let alone in the middle of summer on a 100-degree day,” he said.

You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 707‑521-5412 or randi.rossmann@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter@rossmannreport.