So far this year, the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority has responded to 168 fires, two-thirds of which have been declared arsons, Capt. John Corippo reported last week.
“We responded to 168 fires since Jan. 1, and 113 of those were intentionally set,” said Corippo, describing arsons as 67 percent of the fires UVFA crews have investigated in 2021.
“That number is just mind-boggling to us,” said Corippo, especially given how extremely hot, dry and windy the weather conditions are much of the year now, and how every fire season over the past decade seems to get longer and more dangerous. “We’re seeing fires burn in ways we never have before.”
Arguably the most concerning arson blaze this year was the Hopkins Fire, which started Sept. 12 in Calpella and destroyed dozens of homes. But another arson fire closer to Ukiah had the potential to be just as devastating, Corippo said.