VACAVILLE — A slow-moving vegetation Thursday afternoon fire scorched about 3.5 acres above Gibson Canyon Road north of the city.
The breezy weather and tinder-dry conditions prompted the Vacaville Fire Protection District to call for help early on, bringing in an engine from the Vacaville Fire Department as well as two engines from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Three Cal Fire aircraft also responded with a helicopter actively dumping water on the blaze and two planes circling in case they were needed. The planes did not make any drops, said Doug Rogers, deputy chief with the Vacaville fire district.
“Supposedly it started down at the bottom,” Rogers said from the command post at the top of Wellborn Way, about a quarter-mile north of where crews were putting down the last flames.
Rogers on Thursday night said the fire started as a result of a resident disposing of three-day-old fireplace ashes.
“It just shows how long those guys can last,” he said. “You have to be really careful and put them in a metal container away from your home and let them sit for a month or two.”
There was no property damage and no injuries, Rogers said.
Once the fire started, it moved uphill and burned along the ridge on the east side of Gibson Canyon Road.
“It made a run to the ridge . . . the way the wind was blowing,” Rogers said.
With the official start of winter barely two days away, wildfire crews are minimally staffed.
“Cal Fire, they’re pretty thin – this time of year everybody’s thin,” Rogers said.
Two strike team crews from Cal Fire Mendocino responded. The crews were covering the Delta area for Cal Fire while the Delta crews are battling a large wildfire near Big Sur.
“These guys were on their way back to Delta Camp and we pulled them in here,” Rogers said.
Rogers also had five engines from his department on the scene, as well as one engine crew from the city. A Cal Fire bulldozer also responded, but Rogers said it wasn’t needed.
The fire was first reported at 3:42 p.m. near Gibson Canyon and Orchard Canyon roads. Rogers said it took crews some time to plan their approach.
“We were going around trying to figure out what road to take to get up here,” he said. “It was tough to figure out how to get to the top.”
The fire didn’t come terribly close to any structures, but the threat of major damage was there with a steady breeze blowing. Flames did dip down into one small canyon behind a house at the end of Quail Ridge Lane.
“It had the potential,” Rogers said. “If this had been the middle of the summer with the south wind blowing, we really would have been (in trouble).”
Crews had the fire under control by 5:15 p.m., and Rogers said the last crews cleared the scene around 7 p.m.
Reach Mike Corpos at 427-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mcorposdr.