Firefighters battle blaze in Modesto field

pguerra@modbee.comMay 3, 2013 

It's only the beginning of May, but Stanislaus County firefighters already have been plenty busy.

A vegetation fire in a field near several homes Friday morning was the latest call; with a warm weekend ahead, Modesto Regional Fire Authority Assistant Chief Dale Skiles said firefighters expect more.

The fire along Emerald Avenue was reported at 10:17 a.m. Responding firefighters saw a column of smoke and immediately upgraded the call to bring in more help. Roughly 20 firefighters and several engines responded.

They quickly contained the blaze to an acre, and no injuries were reported. Neighbors aimed garden hoses over fences into the field to keep the fire from spreading to their properties.

In addition to responding to local fires and medical calls, Stanislaus County sent resources to help fight a wildfire in Southern California.

"About midnight, we received a request for three engines that are actually state engines housed here in Stanislaus County to be dispatched to the Springs incident," Skiles said Friday.

As of Friday night, the Springs fire, one of several wildfires challenging firefighting efforts statewide, had consumed 28,000 acres in the Camarillo area of Ventura County, destroyed 25 outbuildings and damaged 15 residences, five commercial properties and 15 outbuildings, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. It threatens 4,000 homes.

The state engines, each accompanied by four-person crews, left from Modesto Regional, Stanislaus Consolidated and Patterson West Stanislaus Fire about 1 a.m. Friday, Skiles said. They met up with two engines from Yolo County to head south and join the more than 900 firefighters already on site.

There may be further calls for help, as well, Skiles said. "There are a number of additional requests in the system, we understand."

Breaking News Editor Patty Guerra can be reached at pguerra@modbee.com or (209) 578-2343. Follow her on Twitter, @pattyguerra.

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