Wildfire burned in hills east of Livermore

June 19, 2009 11:54:46 PM PDT
A warm, windy day provided the perfect conditions for fire on Friday. Flames quickly took off east of Livermore, near the Altamont Pass, growing to more than 2,100 acres. Fire trucks drove through flames and helicopters dropped water. The battle was fought from all sides and in ended success.

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The fire is now 90 percent contained, but firefighters are keeping a very close eye on it mostly because of the wind. The winds on Friday evening gusted at about 45 miles per hour and later settled at 25-30 miles per hour, which is why firefighters are keeping such a close eye on the burnt area.

The fire raced through the barren hillside surrounding Lawrence Livermore National Lab's site 300 center. It's a remote testing facility for non-nuclear weapons. However, on Friday night the facility became a command center. It served as the spot where decisions were made and fire fighters rushed out to meet this fire head on.

"Temperatures go up, wind gets up, and we get busy," said Alameda County Fire Dep. Chief Dave Lord.

The wind drove this fire and pushed it more than 2,000 acres. It started on lab property at around 4:30 p.m. in the afternoon and quickly moved east away from all buildings and personnel.

"It came in the vicinity of one structure, but it really wasn't threatened. So, there were no structures that were damaged and there are no injuries to our knowledge," said Steve Wampler, a lab spokesperson.

Eight aircraft, 50 engines, and 160 firefighters responded as the fire jumped through the hillside and came dangerously close to Interstate 580. Fire crews aggressively formed a circle around the blaze.

"We will go on both sides of the fire, the flanks of the fire, we'll get to the head of the fire, and hopefully it runs out of fuel or we catch it. So that's the plan," said the Dep. Chief Lord.

It was a plan that worked, despite the onslaught from the evening wind. By 8 p.m. the majority of fire crews were released and headed home.

CAL Fire will be the main department to stay on through the night and watch for flare ups.

Still, there is word on the cause for this fire.

MORE:ABC7's Bay Area wildfire resource guide and safety tips

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