Illegal Alcohol Cooking Operation Ignites Grass Fire

Orangevale, CA – Around 10:45 AM this morning, Metro Fire crews were dispatched to an area by Mile Marker 26 near the American River Bike Trail, in an area known as Mississippi Bar. First arriving crews found a small grass fire, approximately 150-200 yards from the bike trail. The fire was quickly extinguished, only burning a small area approximately 100x100 feet in size.

Once the fire was contained, a suspicious cooking operation was located within the burn area. The incident commander requested Metro Fire's Hazardous Materials unit to respond out, as well as Sacramento County Sheriff's Explosive Ordinance Detail, and representatives from California State Parks, and California Office of Emergency Services. Metro Fire crews and Sacramento Sheriff Officer's worked closely to figure out what the devises were and if they presented any hazard. Initially, the cooking operation was thought to be an illegal Methamphetamine lab, with two household size pots, tubes running between the pots, and lids with rocks on top (used to create pressure during operation), along with other items in the area to support a cooking operation. It was actually discovered to be an illegal alcohol cooking operation, or more commonly known as "moonshine", since all the product in and around the pots was sugar based rather than chemicals, per Haz-Mat personnel.

Since the area along the bike trail is operated and patrolled by State Parks, a Unified Command was established, allowing all the agencies on scene to work closely together. Once the material inside the pots was determined to be non-hazardous, EOD Officer's destroyed the products to prevent further issue or damage. No structures were threatened by this incident, and no injuries occurred to civilians, law enforcement officers, or firefighters.

With such dry conditions in the area, it is fortunate that the fire and remaining suspicious material was quickly handled and posed no significant threat to those that live nearby, or those using the bike trail. People are reminded to report any suspicious activity to local authorities as soon as possible. If anyone witnessed suspect(s) in the area of today's fire, they are urged to contact the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.

Category: News Releases

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