Fire burns 30 acres near Caldecott Tunnel

September 29, 2009 5:34:17 PM PDT
A grass fire created some anxious moments in the East Bay Tuesday.

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The fire started about 3 p.m. Tuesday right next to Highway 24, right next to the south side of the freeway, at the Gateway Exit. It moved very quickly up a steep hillside prompting a large-scale response from multiple agencies including Moraga-Orinda Fire, Contra Costa Fire, Oakland Fire, CALFIRE and East Bay Regional Park. The last two provided water and retardant drops.

The fire burned about 30 acres in total, but never threatened any structures. It burned in an open area bordered by Sibly Regional Park on one side and the Gateway Development to the east. Although the fire was knocked down relatively quickly, it was still a good reminder that cool temperatures do not necessarily reduce fire danger.

"Well, today has been a little bit cooler than it has been the last few days. So, from that standpoint it's better. But we do have some significant winds still. We have a fire weather watch coming into effect this evening. So, we have to be more aware, put more equipment on fires quicker, so that we can knock them down before they get a good head start," said Michael Mentick with the Moraga-Orinda Fire District.

Steep terrain combined with dry fuels and strong winds to help spread the fire quickly. However, there was a very quick and coordinated response from many agencies, 120 firefighters in all. There were also at least two helicopters and two CALFIRE airplanes dropping fire retardant on the fire.

Crews remained at the scene Tuesday evening to make sure the fire did not start up again.

The cause of the fire us unknown and an investigation is underway.

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