Crews work into night to contain fire

May 13, 2009 11:56:56 PM PDT
Hundreds of firefighters will work through the night in rural Santa Clara County, trying to knock-down a brush fire that quadrupled in size.

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It's the Bay Area's first major wildfire of the season. It's grown to almost 600 acres along the southeast side of Henry Coe State Park in the Mustang Peak area.

All of the information about the Mustang fire is coming out of the Cal Fire headquarters in Morgan Hill. Officials there said fire was 60 percent contained late Wednesday night and they were confident with their progress.

The Mustang fire started at 2 p.m. Wednesday afternoon on a remote ridge, straddling Stanislaus and Santa Clara counties. However, the biggest challenge was just reaching the fire. That is why Cal Fire threw everything it had at it.

"The remote was the complication with this fire. Once we were able to get to the fire, we were able to quickly surround it both with dozers and existing roads to contain it," said Cal Fire Chief John Ellis.

It took ground crews hours to reach the fire which is south of Henry Coe State Park. The only access was by windy, dirt roads. That's why most of the early fire fight was fought by air. Four air tankers and three helicopters dropped water on the fire to suppress it.

More than 200 fire fighters were called in to help. A few were even returning to the Bay Area, after days of fighting the Santa Barbara fire and were diverted. Even though the mustang fire is expected to be fully contained by Thursday morning, fire officials worry it is a sign of what's to come this summer.

"For us to be starting this early, it's a concern to us. So we're anticipating a very busy fire season," said Chief Ellis.

Fire officials say the fire will be under control by the end of Thursday, but the main factor is the weather. They're saying they really need the wind and temperatures to stay low, which it should, and that should definitely help the situation.

MORE: ABC7's Bay Area wildfire resource guide and safety tips

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