Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Brush Fire On Hwy. 17 Causes 2nd Alarm Equivalent Response

Photo By John Whitaker
On Wednesday morning, Oct. 23, Santa Clara County Firefighters were dispatched to 2 vegetation fires burning along Highway 17 in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Located on the shoulder of southbound Hwy. 17 north of the Summit Rd. exit, the first of the fires was extinguished rather quickly. However, the second fire, burning closer to Summit Rd., was found to be racing up a steep hillside and threatening homes located above the highway. Cal Fire was also dispatched to the incident, which resulted in the equivalent of a second alarm response.

As the firefighting efforts progressed, County Fire requested the assistance of Fire Associates at 10:29 A.M. Don Gilbert and John Whitaker responded to the fire in Fire Support Unit 2. They were met on scene by FASCV member Dan Wong. Don and John were quick to respond to the call, but very heavy traffic on Hwy. 17 slowed their arrival. They were directed up a dirt road to a clearing near the head of the fire and rehab was established in short order. Shortly after FSU-2 arrived, command of the fire was turned over to Cal Fire. The remaining crews took full advantage of the cold water, Gatorade and lemonade provided, as well as the usual Clif Bars.

As the fire overhaul efforts were winding down, a Cal Fire Utility unit arrived bringing sandwiches, chips and fruit for the weary crews. FASCV provided the beverages, a serving table and benches so the firefighters had a place to sit down and relax in the shade. When the crews were done eating, they returned to the hillside to "wash it down", as the Cal Fire BC requested, and Fire Associates was released from the incident. FSU-2 arrived back at it's "home" at approximately 3:00 P.M.
-- Report submitted by John Whitaker