Update on Byrne Preserve Fire

Pictures from the Byrne Fire

Fire Trucks
Smoke from Fire
Fire Rescue Vehicles in Prairie
Helicopter Dropping Fire Retardant
Helicopter Flying Above Burned Land
Firefighters and Helicopters Working to Extinguish Byrne Preserve Fire
Byrne Preserve on Fire
Firefighters Among the Burned Preserve
Byrne Preserve on Fire
Helicopter Drops Fire Retardant Over Trees
Smoke from Fire and Fire Vehicles

Dear Los Altos Hills Residents:

According to the Fire Department’s investigation, the 5-acre brush fire in Byrne Preserve on July 20th appears to have been ignited by a Town contractor mowing in Byrne Preserve.

The Byrne Preserve was mowed at least once already this contract period which starts in April and ends on July 28th. It appears that this particular mowing was scheduled for July to control for yellow star thistle.

However, because of the fire last week, we are suspending any further contractor mowing service in Town Open Space Preserves.

Public Works Director Allen Chen will be working with the Fire Department to review procedures for future mowing of Town Open Space Preserves. We will likely consider having any late season mowing done by in-house public works personnel to better control the mowing project and to ensure that safety procedures are followed.

With regard to the initial response last week:

Westwind Barn staff reported the fire midafternoon by calling 911. There were over 200 firefighting personnel that responded to the fire from at least two agencies County Fire and CalFire. There were fire engines and crews stationed at homes to the immediate west of Byrne Preserve. The Public works crew brought up a backhoe in case it was needed. I was on site and in regular contact with Assistant Fire Chief Tony Bowden who kept me informed of the progress that was being made to control the fire. It was mostly over and under control within an hour. The City Clerk also notified the public of the situation through Nixle and Nextdoor. We are meeting with our Nixel rep next week to discuss a few bugs in message delivery. Some residents said they were not notified.

Carl Cahill, City Manager
Town of Los Altos Hills

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