2,000 homes without power due to grass fire

About 2,000 homes are without power due to a wildfire in the Stanford Foothills that affected power lines, according to a university spokesperson.

The grass fire near Junipero Serra Boulevard that was initially reported at 1:23 p.m. was fully contained by around 4 p.m., according to fire officials. It burned approximately 20 acres.

Junipero Serra Boulevard between Stanford Avenue to Campus Drive East is still closed to traffic as fire crews continue monitoring the fire north of the Dish area.

Two firefighters were evacuated by helicopter because of apparent heat exhaustion.

Fire engines from Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Woodside, Santa Clara County and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection responded to the fire at Junipero Serra Boulevard and Campus Drive on Stanford lands.

Helicopters and other aircraft dumped water and flame retardant on the fire, which was north of the area that burned in a grass fire on June 25.

The Dish trails have been closed to the public all week because of extreme fire danger.

Earlier in the week, David Demarest, the university's vice president for public affairs, indicated the trails area would be closed through July 8.

"We remain very concerned about the possibility of another fire, especially given continued high temperatures and low humidity," Demarest said.

The June 25 fire consumed some 200 acres. Fire officials initially said it was caused by "human activity," indicating the possibility of arson or acciedental cause.

— Becky Trout


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Posted by CPB
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 5, 2007 at 2:32 pm

Also note: For those leaving Campus shortly, I noticed that cars are not being allowed to turn onto Junipera Serra from Stanford Ave, Sand Hill, and Page Mill. I imagine all other entrances are also blocked. Good luck on your commute home!

Like this comment
Posted by A
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jul 5, 2007 at 2:40 pm

Anyone know if the golf course is evacuated? So the fire is across from Campus Dr. Is it heading south or north of the dish area?

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Posted by mk
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jul 5, 2007 at 2:42 pm

any update on the fire?

Like this comment
Posted by Suspicious
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 5, 2007 at 2:42 pm

Another suspicious fire.

One of two explanations:

1) Either another angry fire department employee starting a fire to prove why closing Fire Station 8 is so terrible, or

2) Stanford starting another fire as an excuse to close the Dish and the foothills entirely for the summer, as a prelude to eliminating access entirely for the community, until such time as they are allowed to develop buildings in the foothills.

Like this comment
Posted by LG
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 5, 2007 at 2:47 pm

Is the fire moving east toward Page Mill or just north?

Like this comment
Posted by Tyler Hanley
digital editor of Palo Alto Online
on Jul 5, 2007 at 3:09 pm

Tyler Hanley is a registered user.

The fire is apparently now 80% contained. We'll be posting an update and some photographs in the next few minutes.

Like this comment
Posted by LG
a resident of Woodside
on Jul 5, 2007 at 3:25 pm

Page Mill Pastures is aware of and monitoring the fire.

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Posted by bob
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jul 5, 2007 at 3:27 pm

Golf course has not been evactuated, I saw people playing on it at 2:30.....

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Posted by connor
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Jul 5, 2007 at 3:29 pm

fire was moving south. You would think the fire was in Los Altos hills, because of all of the smoke here.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 5, 2007 at 4:40 pm

From my perspective, the big problem with power outage will be the offices rather than the homes (until it gets dark), but the loss of traffic lights could make the traffic a real mess.

Like this comment
Posted by Rob
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 5, 2007 at 4:47 pm

Anybody know which area is without power?

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Posted by campus resident
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 5, 2007 at 5:04 pm

Power is back on on Junipero Serra...

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Posted by Trudy
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 5, 2007 at 7:36 pm

It is absolutely outrageous that anyone could suggest that Stanford would start a fire which threatens housing in order to keep the dish area closed. It is particularly gauling when someone from Palo Alto writes about denying entrance to the dish area when Foothills Park is closed to the public.

Like this comment
Posted by Andy
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 5, 2007 at 10:01 pm

Four fires in less than two week! Has anyone considered that there might be a serial arsonist in Palo Alto & E. Palo Alto?

Like this comment
Posted by Brendan
a resident of Portola Valley
on Jul 5, 2007 at 10:35 pm

Good point on Foothill Park, Trudy.

Neighboring cities like Portola Valley should close their open spaces to Palo Alto residents until this ridiculous discrimination is brought to an end.

Like this comment
Posted by OhlonePar
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 6, 2007 at 12:06 am

Different type of fires guys--Walgreen's sounds like arson. Howewver, given how little rain we got it's not surprising we're having grass fires--it's hot, it's dry and that dead grass is a tinderbox. They're the opposite of suspicious in that I expect we'll see fire after fire until the rains fall. We got only a bit more than half of our average rainfall.

Like this comment
Posted by Jake
a resident of another community
on Jul 6, 2007 at 9:37 am

Hey Suspicious, I think your comments and accusations are way out of line. "another angry fire department employee starting a fire" or "Stanford starting a fire".
Nobody including you at this point knows who started the fire except for the person or persons who did. Your cheap shot accusations are what is one of the worst aspects of the internet. People from the safety or their computer can say things they would never have the nerve to say in person or sign their name to.
You have accused Stanford and a dedicated group of firefighters of starting fires for their own benefit without one gram of proof.
If somebody was going to try to make a statement about closing Station 8 by starting a fire don't you think they would have started a fire in Station 8's primary area? West of 280 farther up Page Mill.
And I am also pretty sure Stanford could close it's property to hikers and runners without doing something that could possibly burn down houses and kill people.

Like this comment
Posted by Suspicious
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 6, 2007 at 11:03 am

Look, it has already been discovered that the first Dish fire was arson. Whoever started that fire was not stupid - they tried to make it seem like an electrical fire, when in fact the electricity was not connected to the device in question. It seemed to have been started in a place where it was in the end least likely to impact homes, but would still burn quite visibly.

It also seems ironic that another Dish fire happened within another week. I have lived here for 20 years+, and this is a rare occurrence. It just seems awfully unusual. Yes, it is fire season - but many other drought years have been far worse (remember the late 80's/early 90's?), and there were never 2 Dish fires within a week.

So, there is clearly an arsonist in our midst (Walgreens, East Palo Alto, Dish I, perhaps Dish 2). Arson is generally a crime committed by someone with either a motivation or a sickness. Stanford has been for years trying to make the Dish area less and less accessible. Do you remember how great it used to be 20 years ago? Their simple goal is to develop a large number of research institutes up there - they have run out of space on the main campus.

In an age where people out CIA agents for political advantage (and then raise millions of dollars from other politicians to defend it), I guess I do not find it such a strange possibility that there may be a link here. I am not accusing anyone of this in particular, I am just finding it a little odd. Relationships between the Fire Department and the City have been strained for 20+ years. If you have never heard of cases where firefighters engage in arson, you are naive. This is not to tarnish all firefighters, just to say that it happens. 60 Minutes did a piece on this a few years ago.

So, if you think we should instantly dismiss anyone with a connection to Stanford or the fire department as above reproach, then I guess we should just agree to disagree. You can be outraged if you like.

Like this comment
Posted by hot pants
a resident of another community
on Jul 6, 2007 at 1:05 pm

one thing for sure, spandex sales in Palo Alto are down

Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 6, 2007 at 2:15 pm

Are you eating stupid sandwiches?
Angry firefighters? Stanford?

Like this comment
Posted by anon
a resident of another community
on Jul 6, 2007 at 2:38 pm

Hey, if there were *angry firefighters* & the like then why has there not been a fire at Foothills Park? Isn't that the location of Station 8?

Let the fire investigation continue & let's hope the Dish re-opens soon!

Like this comment
Posted by Jake
a resident of another community
on Jul 9, 2007 at 11:48 am

Suspicious, On July 5 you blame the fires on either "Stanford" or "angry firefighters" then on July 6 you say you "are not blaming anyone in particular" well who started the fires then?
Your comment that arson is "generaly a crime commited by a person with either a motivation or a sickness" I hate to be a detail police but is not sickness a motivation? whatever causes a person to start a fire is their motivation.
Most fires that are arson are not started by firefighters, yes some have but it is rare not common like you imply. I never said firefighters don't start fires. You wrote in your first post, "angry firefighters or Stanford. And again the University has other options than burning it's property and possibly it's residents houses. Your comment that the fire was not near house is not fact. The fire burned right behind some houses, near Campus Drive and Junipero Serra.
The bottom line is the fire could have been started by anyone. The recent fires may or may not be connected, nobody except the person or persons who started them knows for sure.
Your first post on July 5 slanders both the University and firefighters.

Like this comment
Posted by wow
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 9, 2007 at 12:07 pm

Suspicious - you are plain pure stupid to even think that an angry firefighter could have started a fire. However angry he may be, he is still a fire fighter and he knows the dangers of fighting a fire - you think he would put his fellow fire fighters at risk? Fire - controlled or not - can get out very quickly and every firefighter knows that.

Maybe you should visit one of our fire stations and talk to those brave guys !

Like this comment
Posted by Jake
a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2007 at 2:05 am

Hey Suspicious, the fire starters were kids playing with matches. Not firefighters or Stanford.

Like this comment
Posted by PA Firefighter
a resident of another community
on Jul 11, 2007 at 6:45 am

To Suspicious,

They just released news that to kids started the first dish fire. Thanks for trying to blame Stanford or the Palo Alto Fire Dept with you comments!

Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 11, 2007 at 8:23 am

I support Suspicious' statement. While he/she might be mistaken in his/her accusations, if you READ BETWEEN THE LINES here, you will see that the underlying comment is truly to express our frustration with Stanford wanting to close the Dish. (As for the fire station issue, I am not informed of the facts and therefore I do not have an opinion on the subject.)

Like this comment
Posted by Tim
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 11, 2007 at 9:17 pm

If Stanford wanted to close the area to people- it would be close already. Besides, it is Stanford land and they should be able to do what they want with it. I would love to see a nice 5 star hotel and retail up there. Menlo Park is doing it off Hwy 280.

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