Weather, staffing help prevent San Carlos park fire’s spread

in Community

Favorable weather conditions combined with a state-funded effort to increase fire department staffing amid a Red Flag Warning helped ensure a vegetation fire at Arguello Park in San Carlos remained relatively small Tuesday night, according to fire officials.

The 2-alarm fire broke out at the park at 260 Wellington Drive about 9:30 p.m. It burned about one acre and was under control in about an hour, said Chuck Lax, acting deputy fire chief for the Redwood City/San Carlos Fire Department.

No one was injured and no structures were damaged aside from a metal shed located on private property adjoining the park, Lax said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Lax credited two factors that allowed firefighters to keep the vegetation blaze relatively small. Firstly, there was luckily no wind at the time, resulting in a sl0w-moving fire, he said.

Credit for headline photo: Chuck Lax, acting deputy fire chief for the Redwood City/San Carlos Fire Department.

Secondly, the 2-alarm fire essentially received a 3-alarm response thanks to a state effort to increase fire staffing during red flag warning periods, when dangerous fire conditions are forecast, Lax said.

Preparing for the worst, on Saturday the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services announced it had prepositioned fire resources in 19 counties, including the upstaffing of 10 fire engines on top of the usual staffing in San Mateo County. Five of those engines swiftly responded to the San Carlos park fire to douse it before it could get worse, Lax said.

The state-funded program “allowed us to have essentially 21 extra personnel on scene without having to call for additional alarms” within the first 10 minutes of the incident, Lax said.

“They call that pre-positioning throughout the state, and this is the first time we were authorized for pre-positions in San Mateo County,” the acting deputy fire chief said. “It was our local firefighters [responding to the blaze], but the state’s going to reimburse the cities and the county for any staffing.”

Credit for headline photo: Mikayla Abe

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