Powelines may have started Vallejo fire

July 4, 2009 12:45:41 PM PDT
A downed power line at the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo appears to have ignited a nine-alarm grass fire that burned for more than six hours Friday night and this morning, a Vallejo assistant fire chief said.

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The blaze, which burned about 75 acres, was reported around 11 p.m., according to Vallejo Assistant Fire Chief Kurt Henke.

About 150 firefighters from Vallejo, Benicia, American Canyon, Fairfield, Cordelia and Rio Vista fire departments, as well as Cal Fire and the Vacaville Fire Protection District, battled the flames until the fire was declared under control at 5:30 a.m., Henke said.

The fire appears to have started just west of Interstate Highway 80 at the California Maritime Academy from a downed power line, according to Henke.

Flames jumped the highway east of the Carquinez Bridge toll plaza and burned east of Highway 80 to Swanzy Reservoir and near Glencove neighborhood, Henke said.

High winds and steep terrain made fighting the fire difficult, Henke said. About 50 homes in the area were threatened but none were damaged, he said.

"We did a lot of structure protection," Henke said. "This is an area that we've had fires in before."

He said the Vallejo Fire Department conducted several control burns in the area last month to build barriers between the houses, but today's fire "burned out beyond that."

No injuries were reported, according to Henke.

The fire remains under investigation.

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