156 photos

Wildland fire rips through Henry W. Coe State Park

During the first week of September 2007, in the rugged terrain east of Morgan Hill, the County of Santa Clara would experience one of the largest wildland fires ever recorded in the county's history. It all began innocently enough with the burning of paper waste in a metal drum. That small trash fire ignited nearby vegetation leading to the start of a massive blaze that would sweep across 47,760 acres of rugged terrain in Henry W. Coe State Park.

It took nearly 900 firefighters eight days to finally corral the Lick Fire resulting in four homes and 20 outbuildings being destroyed. Early on in the development of the fire it became clear that gaining rapid containment of the fire would be difficult as winds and dry vegetation worked against firefighter efforts.

Disregarding prescribed burns the last time Coe Park had experienced a major fire was in 1961. By the time firefighters were able to construct line around the majority of the Lick Fire at least nine injuries had been reported.

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