Summers in Davis can be bone dry and really hot. This combination is fuel for fire, and sure enough grass fires are a very common occurrence. Unfortunately, a good number of these are caused by negligence (like smokers who flick their still-lit butts from car windows) and sometimes even mal-intent. The fires contribute to air pollution in the valley.
Thankfully they are rare (though not rare enough) in town. In 2005, a fire made its way along Highway 113 and sadly burned one house. In 2008, a fire burned in the old Putah Creek channel along the south section of the Davis Bike Loop, leaving charred trees and ground visible for the rest of the summer.
Major Fires in Yolo County
The listed containment date for the 2000 arson fire is 2002-07-09!
Precipitation is measured since the preceding September: thus, the 'season' of rain.
UC Davis has a list of professors doing research related to grass fires. From studying the formation of nanoparticles of soot to planning for the evacuation of horses, a good deal of fire related research occurs on campus.
Wildfires are a commonplace threat in California, and the Department of Forestry has a specific website where they put all their fire related information. Of particular note is the list of current and past fires.
Damage left by a grass fire near the Covell Drainage Channel. Another angle on the same burn.
Photo request: leaping flames (but please don't start them for the purposes of the photo)