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Crews mop up following fire near San Juan Road in Aromas

PRUNEDALE, Calif. (KION) A sigh of relief Friday night after firefighters stop a small fire north of Prunedale from growing into anything worse. It all happened Friday afternoon, but crews were able to respond very quickly.

The fire was contained to only half an acre, and it is an important reminder for us on the Central Coast that the fire season is only just getting into summer. This particular brush fire happened around 2:30 p.m. along San Juan Road in Aromas on the property of McLellan Botanicals and Taisuco America.

It was the quick thinking of the technicians and other workers who were there that helped prevent this fire from spreading into buildings nearby.

"The PG&E power line that's on the PG&E power pole sparked once the power came back on to our sprinkler system, instantly causing a fire," said Cameron Reed, a fire sprinkler technician.

Cameron Reed and his coworker were doing a monthly routine test of the fire sprinkler system at McLellan Botanicals when he says sparks flew from a transformer line, causing a fire to spread to the eucalyptus patch below.

"We jumped in and tried to extinguish and keep the lines around the buildings as best we could and keep the fire down until the fire department got here," said Reed.

"There's about a five acre parcel that could've burned. Quick response, everybody's staffed now at this point so we have a lot more seasonally-staffed engines up," said Nick Milton, a battalion chief with Cal Fire who responded to this fire on Friday. "Our aircraft are fully on, so they were all at scene within like seven minutes out of Hollister about."

Cal Fire says this was only a half acre fire. Favorable weather conditions like cooler temperatures and lighter winds helped keep the fire from spreading too quickly.

"The rest of the state seems to be on a warming trend right now, so we're pretty lucky with the timing for this," said Milton.

Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties have seen smaller fires break out over the last few weeks already, but none have reached the full magnitude of the August fires of 2020.

Battalion Chief Nick Milton says Cal Fire is fully staffed for this season now, but they are still working to hire additional firefighters throughout the state.

And thanks to a team effort on Friday, the flames did not get a chance to do any more damage.

"Thankfully, everyone here is super good and they were on their training and knew what to do," said Reed.

Governor Gavin Newsom is proposing to invest two billion dollars in combating wildfires and emergency preparedness this year. It would be the largest such investment in California state history.

PREVIOUS STORY: Crews are mopping up the area where a fire broke out in an agricultural field on San Juan Road.

There were some structures nearby, but crews were able to stop the fire before it moved over a hill.

They are still investigating the cause of the fire.

Local News / Monterey County / Top Stories / Video

Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson is the Digital Content Director at KION News Channel 5/46.

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Josh Kristianto

Josh Kristianto is a weekend anchor and multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

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