Cluster of grass fires still under investigation

(Laura Anthony/ABC7)

August 5, 2011 5:06:49 PM PDT
Investigators were still working this afternoon to determine the cause of a cluster of grass fires near Oakley and Knightsen Thursday that charred about 30 acres and destroyed one outbuilding, East Contra Costa County Fire Chief Hugh Henderson said.

Five separate fires started shortly after 1:30 p.m. along the railroad tracks near Knightsen Avenue and Eden Plains Road, fire officials said.

Henderson said fire investigators were working with the railroad operator to see if a train could have sparked the fires, but had yet to come to any conclusions.

Between 75 and 80 fire personnel responded to the four-alarm incident and were able to protect about a dozen homes that were threatened by the flames, Henderson said.

Firefighters had the blaze under control shortly after 3 p.m.

Henderson said the area that burned was mostly grass with some eucalyptus trees and brush.

Luckily for firefighters, temperatures were only in the 80s with a light wind. Flat terrain and some humidity also helped firefighters get the upper hand on the fires.

Henderson said it would most likely be several days before investigators determined a cause of the fires and worked out a damage estimate.