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Tractors blamed for 50-acre fire near Santa Rosa

The fire began Tuesday afternoon along Todd Road. It created smoke that was visible across Santa Rosa.|

Two tractors with mechanical issues sparked a 50-acre fire that burned near Santa Rosa Tuesday evening.

Authorities are looking for whomever operated the vehicles, which were spotted by witnesses along eastbound Todd Road where Tuesday’s blaze ignited, said Cyndi Foreman, Sonoma County Fire District division chief and fire marshal.

“It’s accidental in nature,” she said of the fire. “We really encourage heavy equipment operators to make sure their vehicles are in good operating condition, that any trailers they are towing do not have chains that are dragging, and they are conscious of any issues to their vehicles that could potentially cause a spark.”

Fire officials are especially concerned as Sonoma County endures a drought that has significantly dried out vegetation across the North Bay.

The fire was reported about 5:15 p.m. in an open field along Todd Road, just west of Llano Road in a rural area of Sonoma County.

It was reported by a local fire official who happened to be nearby. It grew to about 50 acres within an hour, sending a plume of smoke into the sky that could be seen for miles.

Firefighters had the blaze under control by 6:30 p.m. but they remained at the scene until about 11 p.m., Foreman said.

Flames spread to the edge of Llano, which runs north and south and is lined with homes, but there were no damages to any structures.

Heavy smoke engulfed the area and fire investigators said low visibility played a role in a head-on collision that sent at least one person to a hospital.

The hospitalized person was in a Ford Explorer that collided with a Dodge Ram on Llano.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating the collision.

You can reach Staff Writer Colin Atagi at colin.atagi@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @colin_atagi

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