The California Highway Patrol is investigating six fires that happened along the 680 yesterday, the source of which are still unknown.
Milpitas Fire Chief Enforcement Officer/Investigator Eric Emmanuele said the fires’ source “could have been a multitude of things,” but he has “no reason to believe it was intentional.”
The six fires started on the 680’s freeway side, as opposed to the hill side. Given the state of the wind and the summer warmth and dryness, the conditions were perfect for a blaze.
In the case of yesterday’s fires, they were spread out at intervals along the freeway, indicating that faulty machinery on a car might have been responsible. For example, when an internal issue causes a vehicle’s catalytic converter to fail, it can melt at upwards of 1,200 degrees, dropping red hot aluminum along its path, which can easily start a fire.
Yesterday’s smaller fires began along Montague. Its larger ones began along Calaveras. They spread in a southbound succession, at a speed Emmanuele said was consistent with vehicle traffic. He also explained that a person on foot could not have progressed so fast, and that he found no flares or matches at the scenes.
All six fires were completely contained.