Mount Diablo Fire in the San Francisco Bay AreaBy: Alex Williams - September 9, 2013
On Sunday in the San Francisco Bay Area, a wildfire broke out near Mount Diablo State Park, igniting more than 800 acres of vegetation, and leading to the evacuation of 75 homes nearby.
“I could just see it moving toward us,” Ann Hyde told ABC7 News. Hyde is a resident on Morgan Territory Road, located about 2 1/2 miles from where the fire first started. “The embers are all over the place, and they make me nervous. … We’ve never had anything this big before.”
According to the California Department of Forest and Fire Protection, the blaze started Sunday afternoon at 1:15 PM. Temperatures hovered near 100 degrees and dry conditions lead to the initial ignition where it all started at the edge of Mount Diablo State Park. From there, the flames twisted around the side of the mountain, coiling upwards and creating a colossal orange mushroom cloud of smoke.
The fire departments of Contra Costa County, Marin Count, and the East Bay Regional Park District showed up with more than 200 fire fighters to battle the blaze. Firefighters were tackled with the obstacles of the mountain’s high peak and spiraling terrain filled with dense woods and dry oak brush covered in fire. Breezes came in to fan the flames in untouched territories, creating new hot spots all over the peak. As the night sky seeped in, helicopters scrambled over and sprinkled blankets of water and retardant, making progress below on the northwestern side of the mountain.
About 1,100 residents in the Clayton area were urged to evacuate, pack up, and take their essential items and pets. Residents were instructed to close and lock their windows and doors and stay off their phones unless it was an emergency. The area is home to many horses and farm animals, so volunteers sped up to assure the safety of the frightened critters, loading them up in stables and trailers and escaping the consuming fire.
The evacuees then fled to the Clayton Community Library on Clayton Road. More residents are expected to take refuge in the library where they will meet with neighbors and plan sleeping arrangements for the remainder of the night.
As of 4:26 PM, the fire has been 10 percent contained.
The cause of the fire is not known, but so far, no one has been injured.
You can follow live updates of the fire via twitter @CAL_FIRE.