Scorching hot weather hits the Bay Area

June 21, 2008 11:32:40 AM PDT
The Bay Area is facing high temperatures, tinder-dry conditions, and the potential for some unhealthy air as we head into the first day of summer. Cal Fire actually canceled a controlled burn that was scheduled for Friday in Santa Clara County.

Firefighters say the dry grass is something you'd see in late summer - not mid-June. One of the ways they help curb the danger is with controlled burns. Because Friday is a Spare the Air Day - they decided not to go through with all of their scehduled burns, but that doesn't mean firefighters are not busy.

A five-acre fire burned in the foothills of Morgan Hill Friday morning, threatening a couple of homes.

"It's really hot this morning, really no winds, so we were lucky to keep this fire under five acres," said Mike Marcucci, battalion chief.

A prescribed burn on Mount Hamilton was called off on Friday, because of the hot conditions and smoke.

"We are eco-friendly as well as far as the smoke we're putting in the environment. We want to be able to participate with the rest of the bay area and spare the air," said Marcucci.

Firefighters did go ahead with a controlled burn near San Rafael, however, beacuse the burns can be used as critical training execises. The controlled burns help rookie firefighters prepare for larger fires that they will inevitably face somewhere in California.

"We're trying to expose them to that so that they don't get too excited, so that they're used to seeing live fire," said Scott Alber, Marin County fire department battalion chief.

Friday is the fifth Spare the Air Day of the year and while it comes one day after the free rides on Caltrain, many people are still parking their cars and hopping on board.

"It helps with the community, it helps with the air - so I don't use my car," said Kenneth Hamilton, Caltrain passenger.

"Its air conditioned - so that's a plus right there," said Stu Bernstein, Caltrain passenger.

Cooling the air is the top priority for ten cooling centers set up throughout San Jose. The Hank Lopez Center on Adrian Way is already busy with seniors there for sack lunch day.

One of the coolest places to be in the Bay Area is at the Sharks Ice at San Jose. it was filled with people happy they chose figure skating, instead of soccer or baseball.

"They keep it pretty well temperatured in here. It's about 50 something degrees. It's pretty nice," said John Lomazzi, figure skater.

Firefighters still hope to move forward with the controlled burn on Mount Hamilton. If the weather cooperates, it could happen as early as Sunday.

  • Click here for a full list of San Jose Cooling Centers.


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