Friday, September 30, 2016

Late September House Fire Taxes Crews in the South County

Friday, September 30 at 4:54 A.M., Morgan Hill CalFire received reports of a house fire in the hills west of town. This was located in the South Santa Clara Fire District, at 2880 Tohara Way. This is in the area off of Sycamore Drive, west of Watsonville Highway. 
The woodlands are tinder dry, and the fire danger is HIGH! Consequently a high initial dispatch of 18 engines, 9 being wildland engines, 4 water tenders, 2 hand crews and 4 Chiefs was made. Fire units from San Jose, Gilroy and Morgan Hill City were also part of the dispatch.
The single-story house was located near the deadend of Tohara Way, with no nearby hydrants. Water was trucked in to the scene. At 6:17 A.M. Fire Associates was paged to respond with a Fire Support Unit and John Whiteside took FSU-3 about 30 miles to the scene. Benches, donuts, hot coffee, water, Gatorade, and Clif Bars were provided the remaining crews. John was released around 9:00 A.M. The house was gutted.
Several of the responding wildland rigs from other CalFire units were covering vacant stations around Morgan Hill. A 4,300+ acre vegetation fire has been burning since September 26 in steep inaccessible terrain about 10 miles northwest of this house. A large base camp had been set up in nearby Gilroy, about 10 miles south, and some 2,000 personnel are involved. The morning of this fire, there were 179 engines, 34 water tenders, 32 dozers, 61 hand crews, and 22 helicopters and air tankers assigned to the “Loma” vegetation fire.
— Report submitted by John Whiteside