San Jose

Metallic Balloons Hitting Power Lines Likely Sparked San Jose Fire: PG&E

NBC Universal, Inc.

Fly-away metallic balloons coming into contact with transmission lines are likely the cause of a brush fire Monday afternoon in South San Jose, PG&E said.

The blaze quickly scorched about 30 acres and was burning with a "dangerous rate of spread" at Silicon Valley Road and Basking Ridge in the foothills east of the South San Jose area, fire officials said.

Firefighters said the blaze was initially reported at about 11:35 a.m. Forward progress of the fire stopped at around 1:27 p.m., according to the San Jose Fire Department.

At least one structure was threatened by flames as crews were battling the fire from the air and on the ground.

PG&E said Monday's fire is a reminder wildfire risk is high in California and "everyone should keep safety top of mind to reduce wildfire risk."

The utility provided the following safety tips:

Metallic Balloon Safety

• It is graduation season in California and Father’s Day, as well as the Fourth of July, are on the horizon. If your celebrations involve metallic balloons, make sure they’re securely tied to a weight that is heavy enough to prevent them from floating away. Never remove the weight.

• When possible, keep metallic balloons indoors. Never permit metallic balloons to be released outside, for everyone's safety, and puncture them before discarding them or putting them in the trash outdoors to prevent them from floating away.

• Do not bundle metallic balloons together and avoid celebrating with metallic balloons near overhead electric lines. Even better, celebrate with non-metallic balloons.

• Never attempt to retrieve any type of balloon, kite, drone or toy that becomes caught in a power line. Leave it alone, and immediately call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000 to report the problem.

• Never go near a power line that has fallen to the ground or is dangling in the air. Always assume downed electric lines are energized and extremely dangerous. Stay far away, keep others away and immediately call 911 to alert the police and fire departments. Other tips can be found at

• Visit our Safety Action Center for balloon safety graphics and more safety tips:

Contact Us