Updated: Fire near Paicines grows to 600 acres

Smoke rises from the fire seen from Cienega Road in 2015.

A wildfire that erupted close to Cienega Road southeast of Hollister on Monday afternoon spanned 600 acres by Tuesday afternoon, according to the Calfire website.
Plumes of the smoke were visible from Highway 101 and Highway 25. Calfire reported the fire started at 4 p.m. Monday and was at 75 acres as of 5:30 p.m. The fire is burning in an area southeast of Hollister Hills near Paicines, according to the Calfire incidents web page.
In this rural and rugged area of the county, there are few roads, which hampered firefighters’ efforts to reach the blaze, a press release explained. Aircraft were used to slow the spread of the blaze on the steep hillsides, according to the statement.
Calfire spokesman Jonathan Pangburn confirmed to the Free Lance that 125 firefighters were taking on the blaze. By Tuesday morning, that number had swelled to 256 fire personnel and 26 engines, according to the Calfire website. Pangburn said Monday that no structures were threatened and crews would be better equipped to assess the fire in the morning light.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, according to the press release from Calfire. When the first firefighters arrived, the fire was already 30 to 45 acres, according to the statement.

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