Large brush fire burns in Southeast San Jose

- Firefighters in the South Bay are getting a handle on a vegetation fire that quickly blew up, producing a lot of smoke in San Jose. CalFire said they've been able to hold the fire to 40 acres at 40 percent containment. There is no threat to any structures or people.

Large plumes of smoke could be seen for miles in South San Jose. Firefighters were initially called out to a car fire on San Felipe Road and Metcalf road that spread into vegetation.  It first began as five to 10 acres and quickly spread. Firefighters dealt with steep terrain in the rural area, burning grass and woodland, making it difficult to fight.

“It’s under very heavy tree canopy so there's a lot of leaf litter that's there,” said CalFire Div. Chief Jim Crawford. “Also, with the change in the weather conditions, we can't bring it down to the road to contain it very easily.”

150 firefighters battled the fire, calling in extra air support given the high fire danger. Three helicopters and four air tankers were called in at the height of the fire.

“We’ve had a number of sustained days of high temperatures and low humidity, so that means the fuels are very receptive to catching fire,” said Div. Chief Crawford. “Having a vehicle that catches on fire means that you have a good source of fire to start the vegetation.”

CalFire attributes the heavy smoke to a nearby stream, adding moisture to the vegetation putting up a lot more smoke than if the brush was dead. Neighbors couldn't help but be concerned.

“It’s a little unnerving when you see the smoke break out so quickly close to your home,” said Neighbor Suzette Mack. “It's something we've learned to live with but it's usually not so close to our house.”

CalFire requested evacuations concerned about nearby communities. Gary Ledit who owns a ranch up on San Felipe Road was worried about his cattle.

“If the fire gets away, we were hoping to get up there, move them around and get them to a safer location than where they are at,” said Ledit.

After assessing it, firefighters realized there were no homes threatened this time.

“Just a reminder to not your guard down,” said Mack. “We learned last time last year when it came down very close to have an evacuation plan. It made us think what we would have to do if we had to leave quickly.”

No injuries were reported. Firefighters will be working through the night, monitoring the fire activity. CalFire said they plan to be at the fire for the next few days.
 

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