Panoche fire might burn 15,000 acres

Lightning strikes a hillside in San Benito County over the weekend. Storms contributed to the string of wildfires in the region.

It was consuming mostly grass in southern San Benito County, and
no structures were in danger this morning, said Capt. Steve Norris
of the Hollister CalFire air-attack base.
A fire caused by lightning that started Saturday had burned about 10,000 acres in Panoche and could reach 15,000 acres, a CalFire captain said today around noon.

It was consuming mostly grass in southern San Benito County, and no structures were in danger this morning, said Capt. Steve Norris of the Hollister CalFire air-attack base.

Norris noted that state firefighting resources are maxed out because dry, warm conditions – combined with Saturday storms – have spurred blazes throughout California. As a result, the Panoche fire commander’s request for additional help was turned down, Norris said.

Two air tankers and one helicopter had been working to control the fire, he said.

The fire, which started around 2 p.m. Saturday, is burning an area east of Panoche Road and west of Interstate 5, he said.

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