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Outdoor fires in the Mission hit all-time high

Fire fighters putting out a tent fire in San Francisco
Christopher Michel
Flickr / Creative Commons
Fire fighters putting out a tent fire in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Fire Department has recorded an all-time high of almost 300 outside fires in San Francisco's Mission District so far this year. The Mission is on track to record 33 percent more outside fires than last year — roughly twice as many as the pre-pandemic average, according to the city fire department.

The Fire Department says the two most common causes of outside fires are forgetting to put out cigarettes, and accidents when cooking over open flames, which is often the only option available to unhoused residents.

The Fire Department also says it is working with the city’s Police Department, Public Works, and the Homeless Outreach Team to reduce encampment fires, in particular.

Multiple organizations, including Healthy Streets, have handed out fliers with safety tips. But residents, inside and outside the encampments, all want more to be done.

For now, the Fire Department suggests that residents call 311 to report garbage against buildings and 911, if they see any open flames.

In San Francisco, I’m Lusen Mendel, KALW News.

Lusen Mendel / they is a KALW Summer News Journalism intern and News Reporter for Crosscurrents.