The fire was first reported around 2:45 p.m. near Mt. Lassen Dr. and Idylberry Rd.
INTERACTIVE MAP: Track wildfires across Bay Area, other parts of CA
With flames dangerously close to homes, two helicopters, five air tanker and attack planes, two dozers, and 130 firefighters descended on the burning San Rafael hillside.
Authorities worked quickly to notify 150 to 200 residents they needed to evacuate immediately.
I became part of a breaking news event today when a #wildfire broke out in our neighborhood. Luckily, back home now & everyone is safe. Thank you #firefighters https://t.co/YX8F5Jx88W pic.twitter.com/GhiOtDa1Jw— Cornell Barnard (@CornellBarnard) September 2, 2021
Maggie McCann called her brother to tell him she'd left her San Rafael home. Because of the Caldor Fire, he also evacuated from his house in South Lake Tahoe.
"So hopefully we'll get through this," McCann said, adding, "I hike up on the hill every day and it's very dry and of course water's an issue in California."
VIDEO: CAL FIRE explains why Caldor Fire is moving so fast, sometimes jumping a mile at a time
Wind gusts helped the fire quickly burn 44 acres on the parched hillside. But Marin County Fire officials say it was likely some kind of machinery that sparked the flames, which narrowly missed a row of backyards. Stuart Ratner was working from home.
"I heard fire sirens coming up the street and I looked out the backyard and I saw flames all along there and I grabbed my cats, and by that time they were banging on my door to run out."
Kate Larsen: "Did you think you were going to lose your home with flames 10 yards away?"
Stuart Ratner: "Definitely, and then the wind took it up the hill."
Despite the near constant fire danger in California, it's still surprising to see and feel flames so close to home.
"You live with the danger in your head that it might happen, but when it really happens, it's shocking," explained Ratner. "You have much less time than you think you have. You've got to be prepared."
RELATED: 'War zone': Caldor Fire evacuee recalls surreal experience fleeing his South Lake Tahoe home
"It's been a rough summer for most of the fire agencies around California," said Marin County Fire Battalion Chief, Jeremey Pierce, who just came home from the Caldor Fire on Monday.
"We're all tired, but we're getting our breaks and getting back out on the lines, and we'll rest during the winter time," said Pierce.
As of Wednesday evening, the active fire was mostly out, but firefighters say they planned to stay in the area overnight into Thursday, to make sure hot spots don't flare up.
The Marin County Fire Department plans to release more information about the man-made cause of the fire after further investigation.
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