Grizzly Peak fire may have been started by accident

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Firefighters hope to have the 20-acre East Bay hills fire completely contained sometime on Friday, Oakland fire Battalion Chief Melinda Drayton said.

The fire, which was reported at 1:05 p.m. on Wednesday near Grizzly Peak Boulevard and South Park Drive, is 50 percent contained and hasn't grown in more than 24 hours, Drayton said. The perimeter is completely contained, she said.

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Half of the fire was on Oakland land in the hills and half of the fire was on land owned by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory that's mostly in Contra Costa County, according to Drayton.

The area that's giving the 140 firefighters who are still at the scene the most trouble is on the eastern side of Grizzly Peak Road in Contra Costa County, Drayton said.

"We're worried that some eucalyptus trees may still be burning and dust a few feet down that's still burning and we have a multitude of hot spots that we're addressing," Drayton said.

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Drayton said she has no comment on the statement by the University of California at Berkeley police spokeswoman Sgt. Sabrina Reich Thursday afternoon that the fire is being considered as a possible arson.

"We're day two into fighting this fire and we're still working on extinguishing hot spots," Drayton said.

Cal Fire is the lead investigative agency into the cause and origin of the fire because UC Berkeley asked it to conduct the probe since the fire started on university property and the state fire marshal also asked Cal Fire to lead the probe, she said.

Cal Fire has described the probe as "an active, open investigation," Drayton said.

Cal Fire Battalion Chief Mike Martin, who was at the scene, said the only thing he can say is that the cause and origin of the fire are under investigation and the probe could take days, weeks or even months.

Drayton said Grizzly Peak Boulevard between Centennial and South Park drives will remain closed until about 8 p.m. on Friday.

Earlier Thursday, Oakland police said officers at the University of California at Berkeley arrested a person who fled the scene of a collision on Grizzly Peak Boulevard that occurred Wednesday morning, near where the fire began. Police did not say whether the incident is related to the blaze.
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