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UPDATE: All evacuation orders and warnings lifted on Anzar fire

Cal Fire crews responding to the Anzar fire near Aromas, CA.
Cal Fire
Cal Fire crews responding to the Anzar fire near Aromas, CA. The fire burned through rapidly through a eucalyptus grove.

Update as of 4:30 p.m. 7/25/22

Cal Fire has lifted all evacuation orders and warnings for the Anzar fire zone. The fire is now 85% contained at 104 acres. Two structures were destroyed, and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Update as of 3:00 p.m. 7/22/22

Cal Fire has reduced the evacuation order to an evacuation warning for everywhere except Forest road

Updated as of 2:45 p.m. 7/22/22

7/22/22 2:45 p.m. Update
The Anzar fire started July 21 shortly before 3 p.m. and spread rapidly through a grove of eucalyptus trees, prompting evacuations for residents east of the community of Aromas.

The Anzar fire is currently burning near Aromas, a community of 2,600 people about 10 miles southwest of Gilroy in San Benito County. The fire is 50% contained at 101 acres as of this afternoon. A previous evacuation order has been reduced to a warning for homes along Anzar road, School road and Harland’s Way. A mandatory order remains for homes along Forest road. Evacuees should head to Anzar High School.

George Nunez is chief of Cal Fire’s San Benito and Monterey unit. He said an aggressive air attack last night helped stop the fire’s forward spread, and conditions are promising today.

“We had some recovery last night…the fire activity slowed down, and our crews are getting there now and making good headway,” Nunez said. “There is no great concern that it’s going to head towards a populated area.”

Two separate fires started east of the Graniterock quarry shortly before 3:30 p.m. yesterday. Firefighters quickly extinguished one of the fires, while the other spread rapidly through a grove of eucalyptus trees. Eucalyptus are extremely flammable — Nunez said that presented challenges.

“There's no fire history recorded in that area, we've never been in there for a fire,” he said. “Eucalyptus grows, falls down, and you’ve got fire that's just going to burn through that dead and down material, super-heated. If it gets wind on it, then next thing you know, it's just on.”

Images and videos on social media show the scorched earth of that hot fire that sent a huge plume of smoke visible from Highway 101 into the sky.


There are 150 people and two helicopters fighting the fire today. Nunez said resources were sent from as far as San Diego and Riverside. He listed six city and regional fire departments and four other Cal Fire units that contributed resources to the effort.

“Without everybody's cooperative and collaborative effort, we wouldn't be as successful as we were,” Nunez said. “There were no injuries. There was damage to one structure. It was a collaborative effort by all, and it's greatly appreciated.”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Jerimiah Oetting is KAZU’s news director. Prior to his career in public media, he was a field biologist with the U.S. Forest Service and National Park Service.