Lightning may have sparked East Valley brush fire

Fire burned 2 1/2 acres in Mecca

MECCA, Calif - Firefighters were able to stop the spread of a fast moving brush fire late Tuesday afternoon in Mecca.

The fire broke out near Avenue 66 in some palm trees lining the street just before 2:30pm. The fire then spread to nearby brush in the area. 

"We had to separate spot fires going off this very high 10-foot brush," said Chief Mike Marlow from Cal Fire.

Crews battled the blaze and were able to get control of it just before 5:30pm. Cal fire says 2 1/2 acres burned.

The exact cause of the fire is under investigation, but storms were moving through the area, and Cal Fire suspects that lightning may have been the cause. 

Working in the hot and sticky conditions, one firefighter was transported to JFK Memorial Hospital. 

"In this heat and humidity it's probably 100 to 200 degrees. We had one firefighter go down with heat exhaustion. It's tough work," said Marlow.

The conditions not only sparked issues for fire crews, roads were closed in the area. The California Highway Patrol shut down Ave 66 between Highway 195 and Highway 111.

Also, phone lines were down after they caught fire. A burden for businesses at the Mecca Travel Center.

The AMPM and Del Taco had to turn away customers with credit cards and no cash.

"I'm sure we're losing a lot of customers right now because a lot of customers pay with credit cards," said Anay Lopez, a Del Taco employee.

Lopez says she had to void orders and leave many drive-thru customers unserved.

"All the food was already made. We had to throw it away," she said.

It was an unusally slow day for the Del Taco employees, but for fire crews Marlow says, "We have quite a few fires like this throughout the year in the valley. They just take a lot of people and a lot of work to get taken care of."

comments powered by Disqus

Photo Galleries