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Fire Season Fears: Homeowners Terrified Union Pacific Land Is Putting Their Homes At Risk

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — In the heart of fire season, an East Sacramento neighborhood is concerned Union Pacific is putting their homes at risk.

It's hot and dry out there and they want the company to clear out dangerous brush.

"There's a clear fire risk threatening dozens of homes," resident Tony Mader said.

Photos show dry brush, felled branches and piles of debris on Union Pacific land that butts up to Sacramento's Riverpark and McKinley Village neighborhoods.

"My family fears for our elderly disabled mother's safety and that of her neighbors," viewer Joe Balestreri wrote to CBS13.

Mader is terrified one spark could turn his neighborhood into a tinder box. Neighbors say they've pleaded with the company to clean it up since May.

"It's definitely not out of the realm of possibility that this area could ignite very quickly, any day," Mader said.

We reached out to Union Pacific, which said, "We take the threat of overgrown and dried vegetation very seriously. We did in this case, as well."

The company sent pictures of work they have done, saying they sent crews out in June and did more work in July, but claimed they were "pulled away to fight wildfires that began unseasonably early."

After we got involved, the company sent out crews to finish the work, Drone 13 captured their progress clearing the land.

"We're grateful that they're clearing the brush," Mader said. "But we're pretty well into the fire season, so it should not have taken this long."

As of August 12, 2021, the work is not done. Union Pacific said it doesn't have an estimated completion date but will get it done.

We also asked about the plan to maintain the land ahead of future fire season. They didn't share one with us but said they take dried vegetation seriously.

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