‘Time is of the essence’: Dry, stormy conditions fuel fires in San Jose

SAN JOSE, CA (KGO) – High winds Monday afternoon were blamed for spreading fast-moving fires in San Jose.

“Nothing moves grass fires faster than the wind,” Capt. Jesse Allred told ABC7 News.

SJFD, CAL Fire and other South Bay agencies responded to a fire Burning off the Sierra in the eastern hills of San Jose. Paramedics met residents on the front lines, where the 8-acre fire threatened nearby homes.

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Capt. Allred said the agencies were working collaboratively, especially when responding to “mutual threat areas.”

He said that when there is a major wind event expected, agencies are usually staffed.

“Even when we were fighting the fire with water cannons, you could still see the wind was so strong,” Chris Cattonau said. “So, that didn’t help.”

She and her neighbors used their hoses to prevent the fire from burning their property.

Video: The progress forward was halted by plant fires that burned at least 150 acres at the Napa Company.

Gusts of more than 30 miles per hour caught the attention of neighbors early on.

“It was very windy today,” the resident, Joy Xiong, explained. “We’ve never seen the wind this big before, because we can literally hear the wind hitting the window.”

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Xiong said she and many other people in the area are still working from home due to the pandemic. She was around to hear the gusty winds hitting her house all day, so she knew which direction the fire was going and knew it would happen quickly.

“Less than a minute,” Xiong said. “My husband called me and said there was a fire across the creek and then we packed up and left.”

“It was windy! Just windy,” said Katunau, who has lived in the area for 23 years.

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Twenty minutes before the fire broke out near the Sierra and just over two miles away, the SJFD said the same weather conditions led to the spread of the virus. Another fire. A home along Warmwood Lane was damaged.

“Whenever there’s a red flag, we’re on high alert,” Captain Allred told ABC7 News.

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At the scene of the Sierra Road fire, he said, “Because we know if a fire breaks out, it’s only a matter of time before it reaches the residents as you’ve seen here. So, time is of the essence.”

The fire risk remains high due to the gusty dry winds.

Allred said, “At this time of year, it’s very common for these winds to actually come out of the north and be dry. And if we don’t have rain before then that’s a major fire risk concern.”

Captain Allread said the cause of the fast-moving brush fire won’t be known “for some time.”

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