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Series of Buena Vista Park fires worry parkgoers, nearby residents

A 45-year-old man was arrested at Buena Vista Park Saturday morning after unsuccessfully attempting to start a small fire, according to San Francisco police.

The arrest follows a series of six fires in the area of Buena Vista Park over the last month, including three under active investigation by police and fire officials, according to San Francisco Fire Department spokesman Lt. Jonathan Baxter.

Police told SFBay the suspect in Saturday morning’s attempted fire was being interviewed by arson investigators looking at any possible links between this arrest and previous suspicious fires.

At least two fires occurred at the park this week, according to police and parkgoers, with the larger of the two being reported early Thursday morning. Thursday morning’s fire left two large trees blackened and charred, along with a significant area of underbrush, according to two parkgoers interviewed by SFBay.

Elinor Mills A portion of Buena Vista Park is seen charred and burned after a fire was extinguished by firefighters on Thursday, August 29, 2019.

Elinor Mills, a writer who lives nearby, has walked her dogs at Buena Vista Park for the last nine years. She told SFBay that she has seen evidence of small, contained campfires in the past, but the recent fires are larger and more frequent.

Mills said:

“It doesn’t make me want to go to the park any less, but it’s disturbing to see the destruction of our little forest we get so much joy from.”

Police encourage parkgoers to call them at their non-emergency line at 415-553-0123 if they have information connected to these fires, or to call 911 if they see anything suspicious or what appears to be a crime in progress.

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