Last summer’s wildfires had Silicon Valley glued to its screens to track multiple blazes as they encroached from different directions.
Fire is one of the most transformative elements in the known universe. Thus, it shouldn’t be a surprise that fire had such a wide-ranging impact on San Benito County—from criminal acts of arson that left family-owned businesses crumbled to the ground, to a late summer smoky haze that drifted over from numerous massive wildfires to the north and south.
Police on Monday night announced a 21-year-old man has been arrested in relation to a series of fires and vandalism incidents in downtown Hollister early in the morning Nov. 2.
Local, state and federal police and fire officials are investigating more than a dozen overnight incidents of vandalism and suspicious fires that resulted in damages to at least 10 downtown Hollister businesses—two of which were a total loss—and numerous vehicles.
The SCU Lightning Complex Fire burned about 56,000 acres of Henry W. Coe State Park—about two-thirds of the park’s territory—but authorities say the blaze was good for the long-term health of the vast wilderness ecosystem.
If South Valley residents are seeing even more smoke than usual today, it’s likely because CalFire has begun setting controlled burns in east Santa Clara County as they continue to fight the SCU Lightning Complex.
San Benito County officials are encouraging locals to keep an eye out for another round of dry thunderstorms to hit the area, especially in the Diablo Range.
Lightning-sparked fires spawned by last weekend’s freak storms have since consumed 500,000 acres in and around the Bay Area and show no sign of letting up.
Authorities continue to warn of harmful and deteriorating air quality as smoke drifts into the South Valley region from numerous wildfires burning in the Bay Area, Salinas Valley and beyond.
The July 12 structure fire on San Benito Street that destroyed five businesses and left four firefighters injured was caused by electrical infrastructure in the building.