Fast-moving brush fire in San Jose grows over 100 acres

Wednesday, July 12, 2017 12:00PM
A large brush fire that broke out Tuesday afternoon in the east foothills of San Jose has grown to 101 acres and is 50 percent contained.


SAN JOSE, Calif. - A large brush fire that broke out Tuesday afternoon in the east foothills of San Jose has grown to 101 acres and is 50 percent contained.

The fire was initially reported at 4:39 p.m. near Lariat Lane and Claitor Way.

RELATED: Grass fire destroys home, prompts evacuations in San Jose

Crews are working right now to contain the fast-moving wildfire.


Firefighters camped out along Claitor Way Wednesday morning in case hot spots started smoking.

The Lariat Fire has already destroyed one home and damaged another near Alum Rock Park.

Years of memories for some San Jose residents are now reduced to smoky and soaking wet rubble.

The husk of a house on Claitor Way clings to a hillside and the rest of it was consumed in the fire. "I spoke with the son last night, very unfortunate circumstances, but grateful they were able to get out without nobody being harmed," neighbor Hank Selke said.

Fire poured down the hillside behind Selke's home, and it stopped just 20 feet away. "It was starting to sink in, that very, very fortunate that it somehow skipped our house, so with the degree of burning in the backyard, I don't know how it could have skipped," Selke said.

His wife is expecting their first baby next month. "My mom says we should move back to Indiana, but that's my mom," Selke said.

The entire neighborhood is grateful to firefighters for their hard work on Tuesday. Crews will be back out on the lines on Wednesday. "Really our objective today is to have our crews get 100 percent containment," San Jose Fire Department Cpt. Brad Cloutier

About 30 percent of the burn area is in Alum Rock Park, and as a result the park will be closed on Wednesday.

Although the winter rains helped ease the drought, Cloutier said they also added fuel to this fire season. "There was heavier vegetation and it dries out just like it does every year, so it just creates a bigger problem for us," Cloutier said.
At least 11 homes were evacuated and Alum Rock Park was closed as flames advanced.

No injuries have been reported at this time.

Fire investigators are working to find out what caused the fire as it is undetermined at this time.
Click here for info on evacuation centers and other active fires in NorCal.
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