The latest: MercuryNews.com update reports 20 buildings destroyed but no injuries in the fire burning near Summit Road south of San Jose. I have to go off to my real job pretty soon (this’ll lead Page 1 tomorrow — note the Mercury News is devoting four open pages of news to the fire. Get thee to a newstand tomorrow morning). The 2,000-acres-burned number is apt to be far surpassed before this one goes out. A few thoughts to chew on till the next update, most likely tomorrow morning:
- Very dry spring: We had pretty good rains till February; since then it’s been one of the driest springs on record. This means lots of dry forest hungry for a spark.
- Very high winds: Gusts topping 50 mph were reported this morning, and they’ll probably pick up in the afternoon.
Very marginal population: Many squatters live in these hills, some of whom run meth labs. Wouldn’t be surprised to learn that one blew and triggered this whole blaze.(Glad to report this didn’t appear to be the case).
About the only bright spot is that the Pacific marine layer settles over these hills and keeps them from getting super, super dry like other areas, so perhaps with a few wind shifts and a few breaks (cool weather being the main one), this fire won’t be a terrible as it could be. Right now, though, it doesn’t look good.
(Nice pictures from this Mercury News slide show)
(My Uvas Canyon Adventure, December 2007, started out near where the fire’s currently burning)
(Nice link: Cal-Berkeley’s Center for Fire Outreach.
Blog links from this morning:
NBC11 is covering it live. So far 1,700 acres burned (expect this number to rise rapidly, there’s nothing down there but dry trees). Raw video available at CBS5.com (Brittney at Eye on Blogs has many blog reactions).
Here’s the CalFire incident page. It’s been deemed the Summit fire. Current conditions: Temperature: 50-75 Wind Direction: E N/E Wind Speed: 37 Relative Humidity: 20 — upside: at least it’s not scalding hot, though last week’s heat wave burned off a lot of moisture in the woods. High winds, though, are trouble.
No injuries reported so far, no word on how many homes lost. But some are gone, for certain.
This just in: Shaky handheld YouTube video from the porch of somebody who lives in the hills: Background sounds include fire alerts coming over the radio.
The Merc posted this location map:
They also posted this story this morning just as the fire was warming up, and have been updating all morning:
10:20 a.m.: Cal Fire officials report four to five houses have been destroyed and at least 50 more residences are threatened. Chris Morgan, a fire prevention specialist, said more than 200 firefighters are battling the blaze and more resources are being deployed “by the minute.”
With strong winds and no rain to speak of since February, the area’s ripe for a burn.
Will update when more info comes in.