'It was scary:' Benicia grass fire burns 45 acres, neighbor says his lawnmower likely started it

SOLANO COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Bay Area fire season is off to a dangerous, early start with a Red Flag Warning this weekend. Firefighters were called to a fast-moving grass fire Saturday in Solano County, fueled by strong winds and low humidity.

A neighbor believes his lawnmower may have sparked the fire.

Anthony Wright called 911, the moment he saw smoke and flames near his property on Lopes Road in Benicia.

"It was scary," said Wright.

Minutes later, the fire was making a run up the hill, fueled by acres of dry grass. CalFire called in extra ground crews and air support to fight it.

Air tankers made low altitude attacks, dropping fire retardant.

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"The eucalyptus caught fire, after the field caught fire, I thought it would domino but they got it," said Wright.

Anthony's Uncle Mike grabbed what he could, to try and put the fire out.

"I got a hose and fire extinguisher went to our well and started spraying," said Mike Talamentes.

But strong winds were no match.

"Given winds we've experienced and dry land, the fire took off rapidly, we augmented with additional resources to extinguish it," said CalFire Battalion Chief Aaron Latta.

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Rosenberg Rodriguez believes he accidentally sparked the fire, while cutting tall grass on his riding lawnmower.

"I got a rock with the lawnmower, it sparked, that's how it started, the winds were so high, this is nothing now," said Rodriguez.

CalFire says it's still investigating the cause of the fire but say a lawnmower shouldn't be used during red flag fire alerts.

Firefighters say one spark is all it takes during Red Flag Fire conditions.

"Hopefully homeowners do their due diligence," said Latta.

Anthony Wright has seen fires before here, he's ready for another long summer.

"One month ago, it was green, now it's golden state, the fires are bad," said Wright.

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