Ten more acres of John McLaren Park were scorched on Sunday afternoon before a brush fire could be contained there — the third such fire in the hilly city park in eight days, and the sixth in a two-week period.
The latest vegetation fire was reported around 5:40 p.m. Sunday according to NBC Bay Area, near Campbell Avenue and Mansell Street. As the Chronicle reports, it took 60 fires about an hour to contain the fire, which did not threaten any homes or do any property damage.
San Francisco Fire Department spokesperson Jonathan Baxter tells the paper that the cause, while still under investigation, is believed to be homeless individuals camping and cooking in the area. And the string of fires in recent weeks seems to be cause for concern. Another fire that burned four acres of the park on July 14, southeast of the Gleneagles Golf Course, also remains under investigation.
(Visitacion Valley, San Francisco) Smoke Rising From Grass Fire — Multiple Citizen users are broadcasting live from the edge of McLaren Park. More video here: https://t.co/L00oegMyfd #CitizenAppSF pic.twitter.com/fOLzUirCQI— Citizen SF Bay Area (@CitizenApp_SF) July 22, 2019
The large park in the southern part of the city encompasses over 312 acres that include the golf course, McNab Lake, Jerry Garcia Amphitheater, and over seven miles of hiking trails. It was established in 1927 and named for John McLaren, the San Francisco horticulturist and friend of John Muir known as the "grandfather of Golden Gate Park," who served as the superintendent of Golden Gate Park from 1887 to his death in 1943.
A piece in the Chronicle last fall suggested that streets around the park, particularly in the Portola District, had become a magnet for RV dwellers, because of their long stretches of uninterrupted curbs. An ongoing battle over unhoused people camping semi-permanently on SF streets, particularly in the southern neighborhoods of the city, prompted the proposed vehicle "triage" lot near Balboa Park BART, which will serve as a sort of Navigation Center for those living out of vehicles.