Saturday, July 26, 2014

Wildland Fire In New Almaden Challenges Firefighters

Photo by Craig Allyn Rose
Saturday, July 26, was another hot day in San Jose. At 1647 hours, with 95-degree temperatureFire Associates was paged for a Tier 2 wildland fire at 20799 Mountain Drive at Almaden Road, near historic New Almaden, south of San Jose. John Whiteside was monitoring the emergency radio and upon getting the page, responded to San Jose Station 35 to drive Fire Support Unit 3 to the scene, several miles away. 
John arrived on scene at 1730, and set up rehab in a yard where San Jose Engine 12 was drafting from a swimming pool, pumping uphill to the fire, located on top of a steep hill, and under high tension power lines and towers. Concerned residents promptly moved horses and pets to a safe area.
Photo by Craig Allyn Rose
Upon units arriving, the incident was determined to be located within the State Responsibility Area (SRA). However, San Jose continued as the Incident Commander. Due to the weather, the response level was HIGH. CAL FIRE sent 8 engines, 2 air tankers, 1 copter, 2 hand crews, 2 dozers, 1 air attack and a personnel hydration unit. San Jose sent, over the entire incident, 13 engines, 4 brush patrols, 2 water tenders, Med 30 Supervisor, and a standby ambulance. Both agencies had various Overhead personnel involved. 
As John was setting up, guest Ken Needham arrived, then later Mike Garcia and George Hoyt. Much later Johns wife Monika and son Randy arrived to assist. An off-duty County firefighter brought a cooler full of iced drinks and a cold water dispenser. Later Fire Associates picked up 116 meals from Togos for the group.
The fire was contained at 3 acres by about 2200. John was released at 2210 and returned to Station 35 to restock the Support Unit.
-- Report submitted by John Whiteside