MILPITAS, Calif. (KTVU) - Cal Fire was quickly able to get the upper hand on a brush fire in the Milpitas Hills that broke out at 3 p.m. Monday afternoon. Skyfox was overhead as the fire burned 35 acres and is now 80 percent contained as of Monday night. No word yet on what started the blaze. The fire in Milpitas is one of two fires in Santa Clara County within the past 48 hours.
At the peak of the hot weather in the South Bay, fire crews were busy attacking brush fire near Ed Levin County Park. They made repeated air drops given the steep terrain.
For Eric Tran, the flames came so close to his home on rural Calaveras Road.
“I’m hoping no one is inside,” said Tran. “I hope they evacuated much sooner than I did. There's people's lives involved and there's property. It's scary when things like this happen.”
“We’ve got two choppers in the air and two planes from Cal Fire dropping off retardant,” said Milpitas Mayor Rich Tran.
Eighty firefighters on the fire line helped knock the fire down. A half dozen structures were threatened but spared. Leah Deffenbaugh was worried about her horse, among 150 horses boarded on the hill.
“It’s so early for fires and it's a concern because have just begun the summer,” said Leah Deffenbaugh of Milpitas. “It's so hot and we had so much vegetation from the wet winter.”
Firefighters said this is just the beginning. Within three weeks, the weather shifted from rain to heat. Hot temperatures and gusty winds mean grasses can cure out in a matter of hours.
“Temperatures are well over 100 degrees,” said Cal Fire Assistant Chief Nick Ciardella. “Humidity is very low in the teens. We are busy having a fire every day that's over 20-40 acres that's been happening the last four or five days.”
At a town hall meeting in the East San Jose Foothills, an area at risk for wildfires, fire officials drove home property preparedness.
“Summer came at us with a vengeance all of a sudden today,” said Santa Clara County Fire Chief Tony Bowden.
Chief Bowden said wildfires are on the forefront of everyone's minds.
“We’ve had seven of the largest wildfires in California’s history in the last five, seven years,” said Bowden.
Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez is especially concerned with fire resources and the mutual aid system.
“Santa Clara County when we get a call we go where people need us but there are other places that are more nervous and they are not moving resources the same way they used to,” said Chavez.
#CalaverasFire [Update] The fire remains at 35 acres but containment is now at 60%.— CAL FIRE SCU (@calfireSCU) June 11, 2019