Three Fires Keep Crews Busy in California

Three vegetation fires in mid- to south Monterey County kept firefighters busy most of the afternoon Thursday.

It was similar to a domino effect sweeping through about 70 acres total in the areas of Cachagua and Rancho San Carlos, and the small town of San Ardo in southern Monterey County.

No structures burned and no one was injured by the fires.

The first fire flared up at Rancho San Carlos Road near Touche Pass Road around 2:30 p.m. Houses in the area were threatened and several fire departments from the Monterey Peninsula were called to assist.

While firefighters from the California Department of Forestry fought the brushfire, other firefighters were protecting houses and other buildings endangered, forestry department Capt. Jake Goetz said.

Two air tankers and three helicopters were used to contain the 50-acre blaze, he said.

The fire was contained about three hours later. The cause is under investigation.

Soon after the Rancho San Carlos fire started, another ignited at Cachagua after a power line fell into a tree.

The tree caught fire around 2:45 p.m., threatening houses near Cachagua General Store, Goetz reported.

The fire began below one house and quickly moved, he said. Residents battled the blaze alongside firefighters for 40 minutes until it was extinguished.

The third vegetation fire began after sparks from a car fire on Highway 101 near the San Ardo exit ignited nearby brush. The fire burned about 12 acres and was extinguished minutes later.

Having three fires so close together is not a common occurrence, Goetz said, noting the strain on area fire departments. More than 250 firefighters were brought in to fight the fires.

"Everybody fought the fires," he said. "We were all pretty busy.

"We exhausted all the resources available."

Distributed by the Associated Press