Lawn mower ignited Vista Fire in Paso Robles 100% contained

Lawn mower ignited Vista Fire in Paso Robles 100% contained

PASO ROBLES, Calif - UPDATE: Fueled by 20 mph winds, close to triple-digit-temperatures and extremely dry conditions, a brush fire ignited by a lawn mower, moved rapidly Wednesday afternoon, causing about five to six homes to evacuate in Paso Robles. 

“It is shocking how quickly that fire moves," said Jonathan Parkin. 

Parkin’s mother saw smoke just before 12:40 p.m. and called the Vista Fire into 9-1-1.

Within minutes, the fire had already spread to five acres. 

“It’s almost like the fire helped create its own little wind storm and it pushed that fire north to the creek and it happened pretty quick," said Parkin. 

As soon as the blaze, ignited by a lawn mower, came barreling down the hillside, the tight-knight community along Buena Vista Drive sprung into action 

“You kind of have to prioritize, you know, you have your checklist, your valuables need to go and go get the livestock and what not tended to," said Parkin. 

With five to six homes briefly under mandatory evacuation, Parkin's neighbors say had the wind not changed course, their home would be gone. 

“Within five to ten minutes it had moved a pretty substantial distance," said Parkin. 

Evacuation orders were lifted around 2:30 p.m.

Scorching 60 acres and now 100% contained, firefighters say the Vista Fire grew faster then any other recent infernos in the area and they think the wind could be to blame. 

“My guess, probably 15 to 20 miles an hour in some spots caused this fire to grow in the grass grew really fast," said Chris Elms, Cal Fire Public Information Officer. 

Elms contributes a prompt response to the airport around the corner, allowing crews to attack the flames from the air instantly.  Despite the unsavory conditions, firefighters were able to stop the forward progression of the blaze within an hour and a half. 

Cal Fire is using this incident as a reminder to use proper equipment when cutting grass or weeds, especially as the summer and fire season progresses 

“It’s hot and dry, we’re nearing the triple digits, this grass is nothing more than a wick," said Elms. 

Elms suggests mowing before 10 a.m. during the summer months and says a weed whacker with some sort of cover would have been more appropriate in this landscape. 

Cal Fire says the Vista Fire was one of five mower caused blazes in just the last two weeks. 

“With all the fuel on these hillside’s and this time a year and we had a pretty hot day, low humidity, it doesn’t take long for that fire to really kick," said Parkin. 

Firefighters remained on scene until nightfall and an engine stayed on site overnight. 

Crews will return Thursday morning to mop up any remaining hot spots.

UPDATE: Investigators said a lawn mower ignited the fire Wednesday. Officials said in a Tweet that in this week, five fires were started by lawn mowers. It is suggested to mow your lawn before 10 a.m. during this high fire time of year. Reporter Kacey Drescher is on scene in Paso Robles and will have the story tonight on the news at 5 and 6.

UPDATE: CAL FIRE officials say the fire has burned 60 acres and is 80% contained. Aircraft support units have been released.

UPDATE: CAL FIRE officials said on Twitter just after 2:30 p.m. that residents are allowed to return home since evacuation orders are lifted. Also Buena Vista Drive is back open for drivers. 

UPDATE:  Forward progress has been stopped on the Vista Fire, burning near the Paso Robles airport.  The fire burned 30 acres and is 40% contained.  Five homes remain under mandatory evacuation.

UPDATE:  Residents in five homes are under mandatory evacuation orders along Buena Vista Drive as a result of the Vista Fire.  Road closures are in effect at Buena Vista and Airport Road, west of the Paso Robles airport.  The fire is at 40% containment with 30 acres charred, but continues to burn.

Deputies from the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Department are working with Cal Fire SLO and the California Highway Patrol to notify anyone who may be in the path of the flames.   

The fire was first reported before 1:30 p.m. in the area on the north side of Paso Robles.


Firefighters are battling a brush fire that has grown to 30 acres in Paso Robles Wednesday.  Incident commanders on scene from Cal Fire SLO have requested additional equipment to fight the fire.  No evacuations have been reported, and no buildings are known to have burned, but some are considered threatened.

The name given to the incident is #VistaFire.

This is a developing story.  Check back for details.

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