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Update: Arsonist Ignites Brush Fire in Los Gatos

Brush fire above Lexington Reservoir on Black Road in Los Gatos broke out the afternoon of Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014. Photo courtesy Brian A. Floyd
Brush fire above Lexington Reservoir on Black Road in Los Gatos broke out the afternoon of Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014. Photo courtesy Brian A. Floyd
Updated: 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7: An arsonist is believed to have caused a small brush fire that ignited this afternoon above Lexington Reservoir on Black Road, according to Santa Clara County fire investigators.

The fire erupted after 1 p.m. and Highway 17 drivers contacted county fire officials to report a high plume of smoke about half a mile up Black Road.

The blaze's exact location was about 70 feet down the side of Black Road, where the creek comes onto Lexington Reservoir on the west side of Highway 17, said Santa Clara County chief arson investigator Dennis Johnsen.

"Someone had decided to light things on fire down there," Johnsen said. "It was a vegetation fire and it was pretty thick down there."

Johnsen said the fire was in an area that was really overgrown with dead trees, with thick dead-leaves ground cover. "It was growing, but not fast," Johnsen said about the inferno.

Nearly 30 firefighters responded from the Santa Clara County Fire Department and Cal Fire, Johnsen added.

The blaze was quickly controlled and contained, he said, adding that dry weather conditions are presenting a challenging scenario for firefighters.

The ground's humidity in the shade was only 36 percent, Johnsen said. "This is what we would normally see in the summertime," he said. "I would tell people that if they're out for whatever reason and are lighting a camp fire, it's still a very dangerous time ... to do anything with fire out in the wildland."

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Updated: 3 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7:
A small grass fire above Lexington Reservoir on Black Road in Los Gatos is out, according to authorities.

The fire was about 50 by 50 feet, a Santa Clara County fire spokeswoman said.

Units are still on scene doing mop up. No injuries or compromised structures are being reported.

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Firefighters are battling a brush fire above Lexington Reservoir on Black Road in Los Gatos that broke out at about 1 p.m.

No injuries or compromised structures are being reported.

Three units from the Santa Clara County Fire Department and three units from Cal Fire have responded to the blaze, dangerously exacerbated by dry weather conditions.

—This is a developing breaking news story. Please check back for updates.


Elizabeth Van Deusen January 07, 2014 at 07:57 PM
If you can let us know the cause of this fire that would be great, thanks.
Sheila Sanchez (Editor) January 07, 2014 at 08:17 PM
@Elizabeth Van Deusen ... updating soon. Stay tuned. Thanks for reading. :)
Elizabeth Van Deusen January 07, 2014 at 09:14 PM
Interesting - and thanks. One of the challenges up here is that we on the Santa Cruz County side of the fire line get shuffled around if we see something in Santa Clara County which MIGHT be just on the other side of the road. That happened to me a few weeks ago when people were shooting off fireworks on New Years Eve over the lake. I eventually got disconnected in all the transfers and just hoped it would work out. I hope somebody from County and Calfire are reading this because it's an annoying problem when there IS a problem.You call 911 and then get shuffled around to three different groups - all who will probably respond to the fire anyway.
Elizabeth Van Deusen January 07, 2014 at 10:03 PM
Which...btw has nothing to do with firefighting efforts...I'm very grateful for our outstanding crews. This is more of a dispatch issue when there's a problem that needs to be addressed right away and then the dispatchers just throw you around trying to figure out who you should go to.
Irene Aida Garza-Ortiz January 08, 2014 at 12:05 AM
Rain is forecast 4 2morrow. Hope it does!
Elizabeth Van Deusen January 08, 2014 at 12:41 AM
Me too. Not a deluge, but steady rain through the end of the season every few days would be great.
Dean January 08, 2014 at 01:04 AM
This is unfortunate. Hope they catch whoever caused it.
Esmée St James January 08, 2014 at 01:28 AM
We need rain!!! The Lexington res is parched.
Jeremy Barousse January 08, 2014 at 04:44 PM
Yikes! Though it is cold, it is still very dry here in the South Bay. I bbq'd on Sunday and made sure I took care of all my leftover coals to prevent starting a fire in my yard. Make sure you take care of all your yard waste and other materials that could be flammable.
Marilyn Leonard January 08, 2014 at 08:10 PM
This is so dangerous in this especially dry year. I hope they find the sick person who did this. Thanks to our brave firefighters for containing it.

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