Santa Rosa fire crew responds to small fire at Joe Rodota Trail homeless encampment

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A small fire broke out overnight Sunday at the homeless encampment along the Joe Rodota Trail in west Santa Rosa, the third such incident in the past two months as county officials work to find a solution for the contentious camp that has kept nearby residents on edge.

The incident was reported just before 12:30 a.m. and the crew aboard a single Santa Rosa Fire Department engine put the flames out within 20 minutes, according to county fire dispatch. No injuries were reported, and an ambulance also sent as a precaution to the area, about a quarter mile west of Stony Point Road, was quickly canceled.

A larger blaze also required Santa Rosa Fire response two weeks prior, when a small propane tank exploded not far from Brittain Lane along the trail and burned a single campsite.

The population at the unsanctioned trail encampment has increased to at least 220 people and become a flash point in the community, leading some residents to seek the recall of Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, whose district encompasses the camp. Amid mounting pressure from the growing crisis, Geoffrey Ross, the executive director of the county’s Community Development Commission, which oversees homelessness, resigned last week after less than four months in the role.

Hopkins and county staff Friday told a large crowd at a town hall meeting held at Roseland Library that they intend to find housing for members of the sprawling camp and clear the trail within the next three weeks.

You can reach Staff Writer Kevin Fixler at 707-521-5336 or On Twitter @kfixler.

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