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Vallejo Closes Mare Island Preserve Until 2020 After Three Recent Fires

VALLEJO (CBS SF) -- The city of Vallejo has closed the Mare Island Preserve until 2020 following three fires within seven days near the Preserve on Mare Island on Sept. 25, 26 and Oct. 1.

Mare Island Preserve
Mare Island Shoreline Heritage Preserve. (Google Earth)

The Vallejo city manager's office Wednesday said the Preserve needs a comprehensive safety, security and land management plan and a full inspection of all structures, trees and surrounding areas to protect life and safety and prevent theft and vandalism.

In the first fire, trespassers on the city-owned land used a mechanical saw to cut into power poles and strip metals from buildings and communication towers. Evidence recovered at the scene is being tested for DNA samples and fingerprints, the city manager's office said.

The other fires were likely caused by hot spots that flared up in the wind. The three fires burned more than 40 acres, the city manager's office said.

The naval cemetery will be closed during repairs of fencing and grading, and steep, unstable land and hillsides that burned in the fires are prone to erosion and slides as the rainy season nears, the City Manager's office said.

The Preserve needs a more robust fire suppression, security and land management plan because the Navy is scheduled to transfer more than 200 additional acres to the City of Vallejo in the next two to three years, the city manager's office said.

The city also plans to release requests for qualifications to manage and operate the Preserve. The successful vendor will work with the city on a fire restoration plan over the coming months and provide safety, security, 7-day access and ongoing land management when the Preserve reopens next year, the city manager's office said.

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