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Corralitos wildland fire consumes home

Posted: Monday, Oct 7th, 2013

CORRALITOS — A vegetation fire swept over a Corralitos home Sunday just past noon.

Cal Fire Battalion Chief Jake Hess said his Corralitos Cal Fire station was in the middle of celebrating an open house for the public when the first call came about a fire near 763 Laguna Corralitos at 12:40 p.m.

“I was one of the first personnel to arrive,” Hess said. “There was about two acres of dry grass and brush on fire and a home was about three quarters involved with flames.”

Total acreage burned was about 3.5 acres, he said.

No one was home at the time of the fire.

Hess said one of his biggest concerns were the glowing embers shooting off of the burning cypress trees.

“The embers were starting numerous spot fires and we were dealing with tinder dry conditions,” Hess said. “We’re lucky the winds weren’t as strong as they were over the last several days. We would have been in big trouble.”

Hess called for air support, which came in the form of two air tankers and a helicopter.

“The house fire was so intense I called for the helicopter crew to just dump water right onto the house,” Hess said. “That really helped. The aircraft played a vital role. My priority was to stop this fire’s spread because there were multiple homes being threatened.”

Another huge concern was that there were no fire hydrants in the area so firefighters had to haul in their own water.

“The water goes very quickly when you are dealing with a fire this well developed,” Hess said. “You have to be careful and cautious about how you use it.”

Cal Fire at Corralitos was joined by Aptos/La Selva, Watsonville, Pajaro Valley, Aromas Tri-County, and two hand crews from Ben Lomond at the scene.

Hess said the cause of the fire has not been determined and that it is still under investigation.

Due to the extremely dry conditions Hess said a crew stayed at the scene over night in case the wind picked up and fanned any possible hot spots.

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