Guadalupe Oak Grove Park fire

When asked in an email about the afternoon fire in GOGP on June 12th , Roger Hurtado, a Workers Compensation Analyst for the San Jose Fire Department, replied that it was a controlled burn.  However, according to Michele Dexter, the Council Liaison for the Office of District 10 Councilmember Johnny Khamis, reported that it was not a controlled burn, but a fire started by a tipped over BBQ being used illegally in the park.  The perpetrators fled the scene, so it is not known who started it.  Thankfully, the SJFD got there as quick as possible, and got the fire  controlled or who knows how far and wide it would have spread.

Sadly, Lee Pauser, who has a web site called Birdsfly, reported that there were 9 Bluebird nesting boxes in or adjacent to the burn area.  Five nestlings in a box on the edge of the burn area were found dead.  Five 2-day-old nestlings in another box deep in the burn area were weak, and or not expected to survive.  Not only were there birds nesting in the nest boxes, but the park has many natural cavities which are used for nesting purposes. There may also have been birds nesting on the ground, or in nests they have built in the trees.  The burn has blackened the hillside that harbors insects that the birds are so dependent on for feeding their young. This loss of local insects now means that they will have to extend their foraging range.

Park Visitors:

With an Excessive Heat Watch having been issued by the National Weather Service for Friday through Sunday across the Bay Area, please take care not to have this happen again.  With the huge mass of dead weeds in the park, yesterday’s event clearly illustrates the problem with the fire-load in the park and the fire department’s ability to deal with the situation. Access to roads, multiple entry points and such, made for a rapid response. Winds were active at the time of the fire, and we were all very fortunate. Thanks to the San Jose Fire Department’s quick response, good coordination, and proper training, they were able to put out the fire before it had spread any further.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Thomas on June 19, 2017 at 11:40 am

    I was there. The SJFD watched the fire as it burned towards the homes. I guess it was because they couldn’t get a truck up the hill. Rangers showed up and started taking photos with their phones. Frankly, one ranger should have been at the gate preventing people from entering and another could have been driving around the park to make sure any flying ash did not start another fire. Frankly, this was bound to happen and will happen again. Used needles, empty beer cans and pipes/cigarette butts are found on that hill, in the quarry and at the top of the stairs all the time. Last year a few people decided to have a bonfire at the foot of the stairs as part of a night party. Another guy set up camp in the quarry for 3 weeks complete with tent and belongings.

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  2. Posted by Ann Black on August 13, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    Thanks for this information. It’s sad about the bluebirds, i’m so happy the fire wasn’t worse.

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