Crews make progress on 66-acre grassfire in East San Jose

Cal Fire and the San Jose Fire Department are currently fighting a 66-acre wildfire near Clayton Road and Via De La Vista in East San Jose. 

The lingering smell of smoke was still in the air by nightfall, but crews do appear to have a handle on the situation. 

SJFD has 70 personnel on scene and reports that the incident started as a vegetation fire. Crews with SJPD said forward progress of the fire has been stopped; though, Cal Fire said the fire is 20% contained and remains an ongoing threat to structures.

Thirty structures are currently threatened by the "Clayton Fire", though no structural damage has been reported so far. Cal Fire first received calls about the fire around 2:30 p.m.

San Jose resident Dennis Santos, who's owned property for over 40 years, shared with KTVU that while there was a fire on his property around 15 years ago, "a fire like this hasn't occurred before."

Santos said the fire started at the bottom of the ravine and within 10 minutes, it climbed at least a "third of a mile up." 

The fire spared his home as he has fire breakers around his home, and he remains grateful, Santos shared. He recommends investing in fire breakers, when you cut a defensible line in your yard, such as removing trees or vegetation, to minimize damage.

Another nearby homeowner, Pamela Kinion, says at one point, she began preparing to evacuate her house and horses, a step she thankfully never had to take.

"I drove home and saw the smoke, so I knew this was going to be bad," said Kinion. "Two years ago we had the fire that went right up Mount Hamilton, so we get them here every once in a while, but nothing that’s come this close."   

"An aggressive firefight from our aerial resources and our resources on the ground, as well as in coordination with the defensible space of the property owners, is a key element in no structure lost during this," said CalFire batallion chief Nick Giampaoli.

Cal Fire aircraft are pulling water from nearby Lake Cunningham to drop on the fire, SJFD tweeted.

Footage from KTVU's SkyFOX shows multiple homes in the vicinity of the fire with Cal Fire aircraft dropping retardment and bulldozers cutting fire lines.

The cause of the fire remains unknown. CalFire says crews will be on-site to fight the fire through at least Friday.

This is a developing story, check back for updates.

KTVU's Mark Sayre and Zak Sos contributed to this story.