VIDEO: Forward progress stopped in Saratoga wildfire, utilities restored

 

SARATOGA (BCN) — The forward progress of a wildfire that started Monday afternoon in Saratoga has been stopped Tuesday morning and is 40 percent contained, a Santa Clara Fire Department battalion chief said.

The fire knocked out power and water to six families but is 70 percent contained Tuesday night and the families have power again, Santa Clara County fire officials said.

Crews expect full containment within the next 24 hours.

The fire has burned 10 acres.

When the power went out the families they lost water service because pumps for the water would no longer work.

The fire was first reported at 3:19 p.m. Monday on Mt. Eden Road west of Pierce Road along the hills in western Saratoga.

Battalion Chief Jason Falarski said fire officials reported Monday night that the fire was 75 percent contained but firefighters realized later that they hadn’t contained that much.As of 8 a.m., the fire was 40 percent contained.

Firefighters hope that by midday or Tuesday evening they’ll have it 75 percent contained, Falarski said.

No one has been injured and no structures are threatened, but there’s a lot for the fire to burn, such as heavy brush, and the terrain is steep and hard to access, according to Falarski.

About 70 firefighters are working to extinguish the blaze. Residents in the area have not been ordered to evacuate.

Residents in the area have not been ordered to evacuate. A shelter-in-place advisory issued Monday evening has since been lifted, Falarski said.

No roads are closed, but fire officials are asking people to avoid Mt. Eden Road if possible.

A fire helicopter was grounded as a precaution after a drone was seen flying in the area.

Falarski said the helicopter did not make contact with the drone, but it landed to ensure the safety of crews in the air and on the ground.

Chief Fire Investigator Ryan Cronin said power lines have hampered some air operations and the availability of water has also been a challenge.

But there was no wind overnight and the air was moist, which helped firefighters.

A fire helicopter missed three drops and was grounded as a precaution after a recreational drone was seen flying in the area.

“That impeded operations and put firefighters at risk, Cronin said. “Their operations really hamper our activities.”

Falarski said the helicopter did not make contact with the drone, but it landed to ensure the safety of crews in the air and on the ground.

Fire officials found the drone and the situation is under investigation.

Cronin said Cal Fire is in the midst of a campaign to make people aware of the danger drones pose to firefighters during a firefighting operation.

Cronin encourages people to keep up the defensible space around their homes to reduce the chance a fire will damage their home.

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