San Jose firefighters contain brush fire in Kelley Park

Firefighters have contained a brush fire in Kelley Park south of downtown San Jose Monday afternoon.
San Jose firefighters contained a brush fire that destroyed several acres at Kelley Park south of downtown San Jose Monday afternoon.

The fire department received a report about the fire at 10:42 a.m.

The brush fire took hours to contain and burned in the southern end of the 156-acre park, off of Senter Road at Phelan Avenue.

Sky7 HD flew above as fire chewed through grass and brush, burning dangerously close to the park's historical buildings.

"We have complete faith in the fire department that they earned it once again," history park site manager Mike Bray said.

A fruit barn was most at risk. "If that had gone up, that would be a great loss because the history of the valley is tied into the history of fruit production," Bray said.

He says workers are building a frisbee golf course in the adjacent section of the park.

Trucks dumped mounds of mulch that will be spread for weed maintenance.

Firefighter Captain Reggie Williams says the mulch contributed to Monday's fire.

"The contractor was dumping bark and the apparatus that he was driving got stuck up on a bark and as you know with the California emissions the converter probably got very hot, set the bark on fire, which then spread to the grass," Williams said.

Fortunately cooler and calm weather helped crews limit the fires reach.

"The terrain is actually in our favor also because it's very flat. It's not very hilly so it's making it easier for us to get our forward drive apparatus out there to move around the scene a little bit faster," Williams said.

Vanessa Rogier with Happy Hollow Zoo remembers previous fires sparked in transient camps within the park. She's grateful the flames didn't impact the 150 animals or 1,500 guests at the zoo.

"So far nothing, we're keeping our fingers crossed," Rogier said.

On Monday afternoon, CAL FIRE flew overhead to confirm the fire's containment. After that, crews spent hours raking through hot spots.

During a difficult drought, this is a fire crews say could have been much worse.







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