Family affected by Pino Fire grateful for crews

Posted at: 03/29/2014 10:11 PM
Updated at: 03/29/2014 10:35 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

A spokesperson confirmed Saturday that the Pino Fire, at 198 acres, was sparked by illegal ditch burning.

The homeowner who did it has been cited, while families who could have been affected are grateful for crews' quick work.

The view from the Dow family's house was different Saturday night than it was Friday morning.

"It was right there at the neighbor’s house and when it took off it got into some of the thick brush and salt cedar and then it got real thick and started moving fast," Diego Dow said.

The Pino Fire started near their neighbor's home and raged through the brush and trees nearby. The Dow family runs a farm and pitched in with equipment to help keep its spread from striking structures.

"That's what they had us do with that machine is help go in and make a fire line once it was away from the homes and to keep it away from some other homes that way the hand crews could get a handle on it," Aaron Dow said.

But Dow, who has been a volunteer firefighter, credits the safety of his home to the crews who worked long shifts to keep the blaze contained and a chopper that dumped water for hours Saturday.

"They can knock it back and then the hand crews can really get in and start breaking it apart to really slow it down and put it out you know," Dow said.

Fighting this fire has not been easy. Salt cedar, which burns hot and sends up thick, nasty smoke, has added a challenge.

"Whenever the fire hits it just gets real black and kind of blows up," Ricca Dow said.

But crews say back burns were successful and as long as winds do not pick up much more, they are headed in the right direction.

"A lot of those trees will still be alive this summer cause they kept the fire off of them," Dow said.