Crews contain fire at Zanker Road Landfill in San Jose

Byby Tiffany Wilson via KGO logo
Monday, May 12, 2014
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Crews are battling an equipment and wood chip fire at the Zanker Road Sanitary Landfill site in San Jose.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Firefighters in San Jose have contained a fire that burned at a landfill. The equipment and wood chip fire at the Zanker Road Sanitary Landfill site put up thick plumes of smoke.

Around 4:30 p.m. Sunday, the fire department got a call about smoke in the area. They sent one truck to see what was going on. That crew immediately called for backup. A total of 11 trucks responded. They found several piles of wood chips up in flames along with a piece of the landfill equipment.

The fire presented several major challenges; first of all, the only source of water was about half a mile away from the top of the landfill. Fire trucks had to fill up water at the hydrant down there and then race back to the top of the hill. Second, the wind was whipping through the area. The fire captain we spoke to said it accelerated the fire as well as spread hot ash and embers through the surrounding dry fields.

"We've had embers that have come from this far and then sent several smaller fires," said Captain Reggie Williams. "We actually had a company that was en route to this fire that had to pull off to put out a smaller fire. And that's important for us, because if we can get a fire when it's small, then it won't become a second large fire."

A large field of dry grass surrounds the landfill. Crews worked as quickly as possible to ensure that the field didn't go up in flames as well.

It was a long day for the San Jose Fire Department. They estimate this is at least the tenth fire they responded to Sunday. And it's only the start of what they expect to be a very long and difficult fire season.