Brush fire burning in rural Arroyo Grande

November 17, 2020

Firefighters are battling a brush fire Tuesday that is burning off Highway 1 near Valley Road in rural Arroyo Grande.

Shortly before 11 a.m., a resident reported a fire burning about a mile from their home. Firefighters arrived to find the fire burning in thick vegetation, and headed uphill.

An air tanker is dropping water on the blaze.

CalCoastNews will provide more information as it becomes available.

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Grover Beach eradicated (rightfully so) a whole bunch of filthy homeless camps that were severely polluting the creeks and other areas along Highway 1 a couple-a-few years ago. Ever since that time, us neighbors to this hillside had experienced an enormous amount of homeless activity in this spot where the fire was started and our neighborhoods became frequented by those looking for anything of value left outside the home, or in cars, or any opportune spot to thieve. I’ve been saying for these past years, “It’s just a matter of time before that hillside blows up in a devastating fire due to encampments and the fires they ALWAYS seem to start”. After about a year of this, some of the flatland vegetation was bulldozed along the eastern edge of Valley Road from just south of the PG&E substation down to Hwy 1. This got rid of the obviously massive encampment that had been built, all out of insanely flammable materials mind you, but the problem worked its way up the hill into the forest of 120’+ Blue Gum Eucalyptus tree that are all surrounded with thick native chaparral that hasn’t burned for over 100 years (info that I have garnered from old families local to this spot that have never seen it burn).

Here we are today. The only saving grace in this scenario, IMO, was the fire started and ran a relatively treeless stretch of real estate straight up the hill along a powerline easement. Had those tree got started in a bigger way, this would have been absolutely catastrophic. Hats off to CalFire and all the mutual aid agencies for making the fast assessment and getting Air Attack on this immediately. If not for that method of containment, this would have been sheer disaster for the homes up top. The winds were not good for this spot, as usual. Fortunately humidity levels were high today and ground crew kicked ass.

Now, SLO COUNTY….what are you going to do about eradicating the transient camping issue? Time to sweep that whole hillside and get it removed before we have a repeat event. Imagine this happening a couple days ago with the winds and low humidity levels!

My friend who lives right by where the fire was says a homeless man was arrested for the fire.

That area is a notorious homeless encampment, these fires keep happening throughout the county, I hope they do something about these encampments before somebody dies:(

Yeah, not surprised. We have “Bow & Arrow Man” that lives right there where it started. I would be surprised if that wasn’t him! Kook rides around on his bike with a huge recurve bow all the time up and down Valley Rd and Los Berros. Not sure what he’s hunting but boy, there sure have been a lot of missing cats in and around the neighborhood.

My neighbor goes up the hill to work every morning before 5 a.m. and always sees camp fires along that stretch.