Lightning sparks multiple fires on Mt. Diablo

San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District crews are battling a vegetation fire on Mt. Diablo. (photo sent in by Randy Burkhammer via uReport.)
September 10, 2011 1:13:41 AM PDT
Stormy weather is pushing through the Bay Area with thunder and lightning. Lightning strikes could be seen flashing across the East Bay Friday night. A red flag warning is in effect until Saturday afternoon because the risk of fires caused by lightning is very real.

At Mt. Diablo fire crews began fighting a series of fires Friday night. Contra Costa County Fire pulled two alarms for the fires at about 8:10 p.m. The fires that were all started by lightning strikes were all on park land. While there were no structures threatened on the hillside, neighbors down the hill worried.

"It was just like a wall of flames just a little bit down the hill and going to the side and it looked like it was moving down and not going back the other way," said Walnut Creek resident Carolyn Thibault. When asked if that worried her, she said, "Yeah, a little bit. We were telling people 'Don't block out driveway just in case.' And then just tons of fire trucks going up and police cars."

"It was predicted. A red flag fire warning was put in place about 5 o'clock this evening for the East Bay hills and the Diablo Range. We were expecting lightning strikes and when they came in, they started making ground contact and we had several fires that started," said Contra Costa County Fire Batt. Chief Ben Smith.

There was a fire on the northeast side and two other fires on the east side of Mt. Diablo, one on Leon Drive and another one was started on Marsh Road according to firefighters. Fire crews say they have those fires completely contained. They dismissed fire units by 11 p.m. but they will have other fire units standing by because of the concern that there could be more lightning strikes tonight.

There is a red flag warning for Saturday and fire crews do expect lightning may be a fire threat again, so they will be standing by around the east side of Mt. Diablo for most of the night and into the morning.

Structure Fire

Firefighters have extinguished a two-alarm house fire in Danville that caused more than $1 million in damage, a San Ramon Valley Protection District spokeswoman said.

The fire was reported at a single-story house at 482 El Pintado Road at around 8:40 p.m. and was completely knocked down in under an hour, fire spokeswoman Kim French said.

One occupant was in the house when the fire broke out and was safely evacuated. No injuries were reported, according to French.

The blaze caused an estimated $1 million in structure damage and another $300,000 in damage to contents of the house.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

Bay City News contributed to this report.


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