Lauren Rabaino

The hillside fire that consumed 55 acres was 100 percent controlled as of Wednesday morning.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated to see if it is “something we can maybe prevent in the future,” said Ben Parker, the San Luis Obispo division chief with Cal Fire.

Investigators could identify where it started rather accurately yesterday but are still narrowing the area down.

The fire began on the hill behind Cal Poly’s Equine Center and most of it burned on Cal Poly property.

The wind drove it toward Stenner Creek and Poly Canyon.

“It had a lot of potential,” Parker said.

Animal science senior Stephanie Gloede was one of the first to spot it and called 9-1-1 at 11:10 a.m.

The fire had covered about 15 acres when firefighters arrived.

Two air tankers, two attack planes, three helicopters, approximately 20 fire engines and about 140 firefighters arrived on the scene to help extinguish the flames.

In addition to Cal Fire, the U.S. Forest Service local and county fire departments came to the scene.

The planes could be seen dropping orange phosphate-based fire retardant fertilizer on the hillside in addition to a clear substance that thickens water so it evaporates slower.

At the fire’s peak, “there were some 20-foot flames,” Parker said.

Tuesday afternoon, e-mails were sent by University Housing to on-campus residents informing them of the fire.

The e-mails also instructed them to close their windows and be mindful of their health and safety.

The fire was 80 percent contained as of late last night and some firefighters were still on the scene overnight to make sure it stayed contained.

“Any embers hanging on in the interior were extinguished by the rain,” Parker said.

The last Cal Poly fire was in early July when someone set off illegal bottle rockets near the Poly P. That fire consumed 50 acres.

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