H-CAYUCOS

Sep 24, 2013 8:54 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY News

Downed power lines spark fire near Cayucos

CAL FIRE says downed power lines sparked a large brush fire near Cayucos on Tuesday. It started around 3:00 am and burned nearly 90 acres of grazing land. Although the fire was contained by Tuesday afternoon, crews planned to keep a watchful eye over the fire scene for another day or so, just in case it flares up again. "The winds are going to switch around this afternoon. Be ready for it," advised CAL FIRE firefighter Paul Lee to his crews. When firefighters head into a fast-burning brush fire, conditions can change in a split second. "This morning it was instrumental to get the aircraft up and available," said Lee. "The issue is we don't fly during the night because as you can see, there's steep terrain, power lines inside the area." Luckily for ground crews, those air assaults were successful, allowing for much of the fire to be boxed in. "If we can bring it to an area that it's easier for us to work in, it's much more cost effective and more importantly, a lot safer," said Lee. But that doesn't make their jobs any easier. "This hose lay comes all the way down from Montecito Road, so they laid in about 3,000 feet of hose," said Lee. Each firefighter carries about 65 pounds of gear, including a 35 pound hose pack containing about 200 feet of line. The overly dry conditions gave this fire all the fuel its appetite could handle. Unpredictable gusty winds also had crews at the ready. Bulldozers continued to clear brush as quickly as possible while hand crews mopped up hot spots. "Still a lot of work ahead," said Lee, looking over the damage. "We probably have at least another 24 to 36 hours worth of work out here." Another challenge firefighters faced Tuesday was the lack of a primary water source. Because it was in such a rural area, frequent runs to the town of Cayucos were made and water was transported back to the crews.

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