Police / Fire

Coyote Fire continues burning near Panoche Valley

1,508 acres scorched at 100% containment as of July 18; resident calls Cal Fire response ‘amazing.’
Photo by Jake Medina.
Photo by Jake Medina.
View of the Mineral Fire in Fresno County near the border of San Benito. Photo courtesy of Mike Chiodini.
Mineral Fire. Photo courtesy of Mike Chiodini.
Photo by Tony Stork.
Photo by Tony Stork.

Updated 8:16 a.m. on July 18, Coyote Fire is now contained.

The Coyote Fire near Panoche Valley has burned 1,508 acres and is 100% contained as of July 18. The fire began just before noon on July 15, and there are 141 firefighters working to contain it.

Tim Berget with Calfire told BenitoLink that one structure, one house, one barn and five outbuildings have been destroyed by the fire.

Veronica Stork, a resident living near the fire, said though her home was not immediately in danger, called Cal Fire’s response “amazing,” praising its precision and efficiency.

“They basically treat the fire like it’s an animal or a group of animals,” Stork said. “It’s like herding cows.”

Stork said Cal Fire responded by stopping the blaze from spreading to nearby homes in two directions, and used it to clear off the ridge lines as a way to prevent future threats in the area. 

“They’re amazing because it’s like treating fire for your own purposes,” Stork said. “It’s almost like they were taking that fire, not just putting it out, but thinking of the future on how to use that fire to make it up there safer in the future.”

According to Stork, firefighters protected a neighboring house by dropping fire retardant right in front of it. She said the fire went up to the porch, but the home was not damaged. 

Local response to the Coyote Fire has been swift. The American Red Cross initially set up an evacuation area at Bolado Park on July 15, but since then has been on standby, according to an advisory from the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies are checking in with and providing security to residents in the area of the fire.

Residents needing shelter or evacuation can call the San Benito County Office of Emergency Services at (831) 636-4168.

Cal Fire is also fighting the Mineral Fire in Fresno County that has burned 23,500 acres and is 35% contained. The fire is located near San Benito’s southern county line, west of Coalinga.


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Noe Magaña

Noe Magaña is BenitoLink Co-Editor and Content Manager. He joined BenitoLink as reporter intern and was soon brought on staff as a BenitoLink reporter. He also experiments with videography and photography. He is a San Benito High School alumnus with a bachelor's in journalism from San Jose State and a Liberal Arts Associate's Degree from Gavilan College. Noe also attended San Jose City College and was the managing editor for the City College Times, the school's newspaper. He was a reporter and later a copy editor for San Jose State's Spartan Daily. He is a USC Center for Health Journalism 2020 California Fellow.