logo: Santa Clara County FireSafe Council
logo: Santa Clara County FireSafe Council
Mobilizing the people of Santa Clara County to protect their homes, communities and environment from wildfires

Mobilizing the people of Santa Clara County to protect their homes, communities and environment from wildfires

Newsletters - The SCFSC Fireplug

Clearing a Road to Recovery After the Loma Fire

By Jennifer Leman | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. | Bay Area News Group | Read the original article in The Mercury News

SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS — Ed Orre swings a long ax and cracks open the cone of a knob cone pine. He’s hunting for signs of life amid the charred trees along a foggy ridge off Loma Chiquita Road.

Uniformed man peering into melted culvert
Ed Orre, Santa Clara County's Division Chief and Unit Forester with Cal Fire, peers into a plastic culvert along Loma Chiquita Road on March 14, 2018. The culvert melted during 2016's Loma Fire, which scorched the remote region in the Santa Cruz Mountains. (Jennnifer Leman/Bay Area News Group)

He finds it.

“It looks like it’s already released most of its seeds,” said Orre, a division chief and unit forester for the Santa Clara Unit of Cal Fire, based in Morgan Hill. Eventually, the seeds flushed from that cone will become a problem for the rural community, which lies north of Morgan Hill on the Santa Clara side of the Santa Clara-Santa Cruz county line.

Morgan Hill’s Jackson Oaks Community: Are We Ready to be Firewise?

Woman next to outdoor sign announcing: JOA FireWise Event April 12 @ 7 PM Clubhouse
Homeowner Doris Fredericks helps to put up road sign announcing the first Firewise event

Summers in the eastern foothills of Morgan Hill grow blazing hot. Couple the heat and dry winds with four years of drought, and the 500-plus hillside homes located here sit perched like ready tinderboxes.

In 1985, when it seemed the entire state was on fire, our Jackson Oaks neighborhood was in crisis mode. Local fire teams were fanned out fighting critical Santa Clara and Santa Cruz County fires just as the dry hills east of our development began to blaze. Watching the rolling smoke billow into the sky was terrifying.

Randy Castro Retires from CAL FIRE - And starts to work for SCFSC

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Mike Hamer and Randy Castro
Mike Hamer and Randy Castro

Fire Captain Randy Castro retired from CAL FIRE in early 2013 after 27 years of service. Randy managed the PL566 program for CAL FIRE and used CAL FIRE CDC inmate fire crews to complete many fuel breaks, evacuation routes and other projects in Lexington Hills and south Santa Clara County. He was a CAL FIRE representative to our FireSafe Council for the four-year period from 2009 to 2012. You can see Randy and his crews every day in the revolving photos on the Home Page of our Web Site – that's Randy in one of the photos talking to Michael Hamer from the Santa Clara Valley Water District. Randy says he was happy to have completed several FireSafe Council projects and he supports its mission.

New San Jose Fire Department Wildland Officer Joins FireSafe Council

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Gary Sanchez and Mark Roberts
Gary Sanchez and
Mark Roberts

San Jose Fire Department has a new Wildland officer. Fire Captain Mark Roberts has stepped into the position following the departure of Steve Foreman who was SJFD's representative to our council for three years. Captain Roberts has also been elected to the FireSafe Council Board of Directors.

Mark has served with SJFD for the past 16 years after being at CAL FIRE in its Auburn, CA Nevada-Yuba-Placer Ranger unit. He received his training at a variety of different places including: State Fire Marshal, SJFD, CAL FIRE, Elk Grove Fire Department, Sacramento Fire Department, American River College, Consumnes River College, Mission College, Executive Development Institute, TAK Response Conference and FDIC (Fire Department Instructors Conference).

PulsePoint - New app pinpoints local emergency events


When you hear the fire engine sirens, do you wonder where they are going? Are you tired of listening to your scanner and then missing the initial dispatch with the location? Do you want to know if that is a medical emergency or a structure fire or a wildfire nearby when it is hot and windy?

Yes, the radio or TV stations may help if it is a major incident. But do you want to know before they get there? Do you want to know so you can avoid the traffic? Do you wonder what is happening near the school where your kids are?

SCFSC Newsletter Revived – Now an article-by-article blog

The SCFSC Newsletter, The Fireplug, is spouting again after a two-year draught. It's now an article-by-article blog on this page rather than PDFs like the older newsletters below.

Comments are enabled on the articles now – just click on the comments link under each article. These comments are moderated to prevent spam so comments won't appear until they are reviewed.

More articles will be here soon. We hope this new format will make it easier to keep The Fireplug running and encourage more articles. If you have an idea for an article, just send us the idea or a draft. We'd like to have more articles written by our newsletter readers.

And don't hesitate to enter comments on the articles.

Questions or suggestions? Use the comments on this article or send us an e-mail.


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Santa Clara County FireSafe Council

14380 Saratoga Avenue
Saratoga, CA 95070-5953
Telephone: (408) 975-9591

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