Neighbors, emergency crews rise to occasion

With barely two weeks passing since the South Valley honored the
men and women who devote their lives to public safety, those same
people are hard at work just beyond El Toro Mountain, battling an
inferno that has raged into the county’s biggest fire in nearly two
decades.
With barely two weeks passing since the South Valley honored the men and women who devote their lives to public safety, those same people are hard at work just beyond El Toro Mountain, battling an inferno that has raged into the county’s biggest fire in nearly two decades.

In the worst possible conditions imaginable: searing hot days, steep canyons choked by 20 years’ growth of underbrush and poison oak, they toil even as you read this to protect as many homes and as much property as they can from a raging wildfire drunk on endless fuel.

Watching lines of orange-clad minimum-security inmates marching with almost military precision to cut firebreaks for the CDF almost gives goose bumps. It’s impossible to recount the many acts of heroism and kindness from neighbors in a remote region where residents have learned to be self-sufficient. But here’s one:

A group that included City of Oakland firefighters and police officers and the Vallejo chief of police, on a golf outing to Coyote Creek, spent their vacation cutting a fire line to protect the historic Sveadal resort off Croy Road, then ran a hose a quarter-mile to a stream to help fight flames.

While public safety is their profession, they were fighting the fire with a feeling of empathy for locals facing the inferno: One had lost his home in the infamous Oakland Hills blaze.

Firefighters working the blaze are resting at Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy. Best estimates for just containment are late Saturday night.

The American Red Cross is asking for donations. A good way to thank so many for their kindness and help out a neighbor is to answer the call. Phone 408-577-2049 or e-mail [email protected] and ask how you can help.

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