Certain Spots in San Jose Vulnerable During Fire Season

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    NEWSLETTERS

    It is the start of a long, dangerous fire season, and there are spots in the South Bay that are especially vulnerable. NBC Bay Area's Marianne Favro reports from San Jose where it is a challenging time for fire crews. (Published Friday, May 16, 2014)

    It is the start of a long, dangerous fire season, and there are spots in the South Bay that are especially vulnerable.

    It is a challenging time for fire crews, as flames quickly devoured a 3,000 square-foot home in Gilroy Thursday, a very vivid reminder fire season is hitting the South Bay early and hard this year.

    And because of the excessive fire danger, rangers closed Alum Rock Park in San Jose for two days this week.

    "We are in critical fire mode and the fuel there is very dry and the humidity is very low," Capt. Cleo Doss of the San Jose Fire Department said.

    San Jose firefighters are also keeping a close eye on this trouble zone, the creek bed near Kelly Park.

    "There are areas that are very hard to access, and there is lots of overgrown vegetations," Doss said. "Plus, there are lots of folks who live there."

    Some of the homeless who live down there also cook on camp fires, increasing the risk of embers igniting the thick brush. On Tuesday, a fire near the creek bed scorched half an acre and came within a few feet from nearby homes.

    It is not just in San Jose. Throughout Santa Clara County, fire leaders said people are ripe with risk.

    "You could drive around the entire rim of the valley and see trouble areas," Santa Clara County Fire Department Deputy Chief Joe Parker said. "That, coupled with dry weather, heat, and high winds. That's when you have problems."

    The dry, hot weather, along with high winds, could create a fire that can destroy a home in minutes.