Two more Italian cypress trees were set on fire in the Donnelly Park area on Monday morning, Turlock police report.
Firefighters and police responded to the fires about 6:45 a.m., said Police Department spokesman Sgt. Russell Holeman. Evidence of arson was found at the scene, he said. There is no suspect information available.
The two trees were next to each other at Donnelly Park Drive and Pedras Road, at the park's northeast corner, said Mark Gomez, Turlock fire marshal. He said the fires were knocked down quickly but the trees were badly burned and most likely will have to be removed.
The fires appear to be the work of the person or people who started five fires in and around the park the night of Feb. 28. In each instance that night, a cypress was set on fire, Holeman said. A fence also was damaged.
A resident of Pomona Court who had a cypress burn in front of his home that night said a white male, probably in his early 20s, set the fire. The man pulled up in a small SUV, got out, tucked something into the tree, lit it, got back in the vehicle and drove off. It all happened very quickly, the resident said.
"I saw his arm go in there," the resident said, explaining that the Italian cypress is "kind of more like a bush, and you can reach into the center of the tree."
Anyone with information is urged to call Turlock police Detective Jason Tosta at 209-668-5550, ext 6624.