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375-acre fire near Mt. Diablo 90 percent contained

August 25, 2010 11:44:53 PM PDT
Today, firefighters expect to fully contain a wildfire in and around Mt. Diablo State Park. Smoke is still visible in some parts of Contra Costa and Alameda counties from the fire. It's burned at least 375 acres and ash from it was reported in at least four East Bay cities. The fire started Tuesday afternoon, along Morgan Territory Road.

There is encouraging news from the fire lines in Contra Costa County. A wildfire burning near Mt. Diablo in a rural area southeast of Clayton, called Curry Canyon, is no longer a threat. The fire started around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday and is 90 percent contained. However, fighting it has been tough.

The major battle is over, but now it's on to the hidden dangers the fire left behind.

"That's what the big danger is, is all the snags that are out here, because the second day the trees have had a chance to burn on the inside and that makes them want to come down," CAL FIRE Batt. Chief Scott Lindren.

That could be deadly for any of the more than 200 firefighters from around Northern California still navigating their way through the rugged hills near Mt. Diablo. On a day like Wednesday, that is key. Under hundreds of pounds of heavy gear, these crews had no doubt it felt like triple-digit heat, and the thermostat inside the command post proved it.

"There have been times? particularly when I've been out in the desert on fires where you're drinking a gallon a day and you're still really thirsty," said CAL FIRE spokesman Matt Streck.

It is a fire that has been burning for more than 24 hours. Fire officials say the cause remains under investigation, but rangers with Mt. Diablo State Park say it could have been caused by a fallen power line. PG&E crews inspected what was left of those lines Wednesday.

The thick brush and steep hills were a challenge for crews who had to fight much of the fire by hand. By air, they managed to keep the lone home in the area safe.

"Guys coming around here, nice job of saving the property," said a Mt. Diablo resident.

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries. The biggest challenge for these crews has been staying hydrated in the triple-digit weather.

Mt. Diablo State Park will remain closed for the time being.

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Bay City News contributed to this report


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