A 20-acre wildfire broke out near Grizzly Peak in the Oakland/Berkeley hills Wednesday afternoon, bringing up bad memories for some residents who live through the firestorm of 1991 that claimed 25 lives and destroyed over 3,000 homes. The blaze was relatively small and quickly brought under control, but nevertheless was too close for comfort in a densely populated part of the Bay Area that is prone to fire.
As Berkeleyside reports, the fire was 50 percent contained as of 7 a.m. today, and Oakland fire engineer Charleton Lightfoot said at a press conference that the fire had not grown since 9 p.m. Wednesday night. Still, he said, there were hot spots, and "The public should stay clear." Part of Grizzly Peak Boulevard is expected to remain closed until this evening.
As ABC 7 reports, one firefighter was injured fighting the blaze when he fell 50 feet down a steep hillside after encountering a hornets' nest.
The fire is in a steep area of dry, fairly dense vegetation and trees, and it was sparked sometime around 1 p.m. on Wednesday, growing to 10 acres by 4 p.m., according to the Chronicle. The blaze sent smoke in multiple directions, both over Contra Costa County to the west and toward the Oakland Airport to the south. More than 150 firefighters responded to the scene.
Multiple buildings on the UC Berkeley campus were evacuated Wednesday afternoon, as the Daily Cal reports, including Lawrence Berkeley Labs buildings and the UC Botanical Gardens.
The fire remains under investigation, but Berkeleyside is already questioning whether there might be a connection to a small fire that broke out Tuesday in the same vicinity of Fish Ranch Road and Grizzly Peak Boulevard.
As many will remember, the firestorm of '91 began with an incompletely extinguished brush fire in the Berkeley hills very near to where this fire is, which is why this relatively minor fire is causing such anxiety.
They say it's controlled but having had so many friends&family affected by '91 Oakland fire this is super freaky. https://t.co/kvt7ionxRp— Timber Barbie🌲 (@barbwonttweet) August 3, 2017