Flames are burning structures at least three stories tall as firefighters work to contain the blaze.
A tall, dense column of smoke is rising from the fire, visible as far south as San Leandro.
Word from the scene by Eli Rosseter:
We're sitting at Jack London Square and it's pretty much the center third of our visual range.
They have trucks with variable reach booms trying to spray water in, but it kind of looks hopeless, one of those situations where it's probably best to just try and keep it from spreading. I can see firefighters on the other rooftops...
The firefighters look like tiny bumps on the surrounding rooftops, in contrast to the flames and smoke. The firetrucks are all directing spotlights at the fire.
It looks like the fire found fresh material. It's moving northward across the block and sending up pretty black smoke.
There's a intense column of black smoke now. And now it's being blown towards Jack London Square. We can smell it now and we were just talking about whether there were toxins, but we don't know.
It smells like cresote-soaked wood. We're leaving now. It's too intense.
There's a strong sulphur smell.
The smoke and ashes are settling over Oakland. The streets look foggy.