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Vegetation fire near downtown Guerneville quickly extinguished

Firefighters made quick work of a vegetation fire that broke out near downtown Guerneville Thursday.

The fire erupted in the area of Parker’s Resort on Neeley Road, just south of the Russian River, across from the popular Johnson’s Beach, according to Redcom, the emergency dispatch center.

The blaze was reported at 5:26 p.m. Cal Fire responded with two air tankers, one helicopter, five engines and two bulldozers.

It took firefighters less than an hour to quell the blaze, which was contained by 6:22 p.m., and limited to less than half an acre, according to a spokesperson at Cal Fire’s St. Helena command center.

Cal Fire kept personnel in the area through the night to monitor the situation. Firefighters kept an eye, in particular, on a large fir tree that wasn’t completely extinguished.

Crews “were trying to drop it last night, but it got too dark,” said Monte Rio Fire Chief Steve Baxman. Cal Fire brought in a crew Friday morning to down the burning evergreen -- which had been visible during the night from downtown Guerneville.

“We were getting calls on it all night,” said Baxman.

He described the fire as “suspicious.”

“It’s about 500 feet up the hill, there are no power lines, there’s no house nearby, there shouldn’t be anybody up there, so why did we have a fire?”

Firefighters have responded to a rash of blazes this fire season along the Russian River that appear to have escaped from homeless encampments -- around 10 in Monte Rio alone, said Baxman.

A Cal Fire spokesperson said the cause of the blaze is still under investigation.

You can reach Staff Writer Austin Murphy at austin.murphy@pressdemocrat.com or on Twitter @ausmurph88.

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