Northern California brush fire grows to 101 acres, destroys at least one structure

A firefighter sprays a hose up into trees as two other firefighters stand nearby amid smoke and flames
Firefighters battle the Anzar fire near Aromas, Calif., on Thursday.
(Nic Coury / Associated Press)

A fast-moving brush fire forced residents to flee their homes and destroyed at least one structure after it burned 101 acres in Northern California’s San Benito County on Thursday, according to authorities.

As of Friday morning, the Anzar fire was 25% contained, officials said. The fire was first reported at 3:21 p.m. east of the community of Aromas, between Salinas and Gilroy, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Initially, two fires were reported in the area with one’s forward progress halted at around 50 acres, officials said. The second blaze quickly spread through a grove of eucalyptus trees south of the Aromas Granite Quarry and grew to nearly 90 acres, jumping across Highway 129.


Assisted by a water-dropping helicopter, firefighters were able to stop the fire’s progress, according to CalFire.

An increase in catastrophic wildfires has reduced California tree cover by 6.7% since 1985, and researchers fear the lost trees will never grow back.

July 20, 2022

The fire prompted evacuations in the area near Anzar Road with an evacuation center set up at Anzar High School.

As of 8 p.m. on Thursday, the fire had destroyed one structure and was threatening at least four others, Cal Fire officials said. It was unclear whether the destroyed structure was a home or other building.

Overnight, 350 firefighters worked to contain the fire that officials said burned at a moderate rate of spread due to the burning eucalyptus trees.

The Cal Fire Santa Clara Unit said it had sent nine engines, a helicopter and a bulldozer to assist with firefighting.

A helicopter drops water on a section of trees where smoke is rising
A helicopter drops water on the Anzar fire near Aromas, Calif., on Thursday.
(Nic Coury / Associated Press)