Crews making good progress on 2,200-acre Rock Fire west of Patterson, Cal Fire reports

The Rock fire wildland blaze that broke out about 8 p.m. Tuesday west of Patterson had burned about 2,240 acres as of 1 p.m. Wednesday and was 50 percent contained, according to the Santa Clara Unit of the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection.

The fire is burning off Del Puerto Canyon Road west of Interstate 5. Crews were making good progress Wednesday morning, Santa Clara Unit Chief Jake Hess said at the Cal Fire station on Sperry Road in Patterson. Additional aircraft were ordered for the left flank, where there is active fire, he said. Planes and helicopters are being used for suppression, dropping retardant and water.

High-tension KV lines were threatened, Hess said, as was grazing land. But no structures were threatened Wednesday morning, and there were no evacuations. Cattle continued to graze in several spots along Del Puerto Canyon Road.

Earlier in the morning, Cal Fire estimated the burned acreage at 1,000. The increase was due to more accurate mapping, it said.

Resources in use Wednesday morning were 20 engines, five bulldozers, four crews and three water tenders, Santa Clara Unit Deputy Chief Mike Marcucci said.

The main area still being attacked Wednesday morning was well off Del Puerto Canyon Road. Firefighters right along the road were putting out small areas of fire. A bulldozer could be seen high on a hill, working along the border between burned and unburned vegetation.

One team of firefighters was overheard to be “bone piling” (building a small pile of already burning material to reduce fire fuel) the remains of a tree, with a plan to return with water to extinguish it.

Firefighters were met with windy conditions Tuesday night, when Cal Fire initially estimated that about 30 acres had been burned. Winds in the forecast Wednesday were expected to reach about 10 mph in Patterson, according to the National Weather Service.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, Cal Fire said. On its incident information page, the California Highway Patrol reported that the fire is expected to continue burning until Saturday.

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