Firefighters Battle Grass Fire In East Bay Hills

OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Firefighters were battling a stubborn grass fire near the Berkeley-Oakland border Wednesday night.

Fire officials said around 10 p.m. that they have stopped the forward momentum of what they are calling the Grizzly Fire.

Alameda County Fire says the fire scorched roughly 20 acres and approximately 20 percent contained.

The fire, which was reported just after 1 p.m., was burning near Grizzly Peak Boulevard and Fish Ranch Road in Oakland near the Berkeley border and not far from the Lawrence Hall of Science.

Oakland Fire Battalion Chief Melinda Drayton said the fire was partially contained as of shortly after 5 p.m. and a partial perimeter has been set up.

Drayton said crews were have having some issues fighting the fire on the north end due to very steep terrain and thick brush.

A total of nine fire departments responded to the fire, Drayton said.

The fire is a joint command with Cal Fire, Oakland Fire and Orinda-Moraga Fire District

So far, authorities said no structures are in danger.

At 3:10 p.m., UC Berkeley police issued an alert regarding some recommended evacuations in the area due to wildfire.

UC police advised people to leave the Hall of Science, which is located at 1 Centennial Drive, as well as the Space Sciences Laboratory at 7 Gauss Way and the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute at 17 Gauss Way, which are both near Centennial Drive.

In addition, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at 1 Cyclotron Road, which is also off Centennial Road, advised its employees to leave work early because of the fire, lab spokesman Jon Weiner said.

Video shot by Chopper 5 showed the large fire producing a sizable cloud of smoke over the area.

UC police said Grizzly Peak Boulevard is closed between Centennial Drive and South Park Drive and other roads in the area may be closed as needed.

They advised the public to avoid the area to allow crews to respond to the fire.

UC police also said the university’s Botanical Garden at 200 Centennial Drive has closed for the day.

Cal Fire air tanker drops are being utilized to help combat the blaze.

A shelter in place has been ordered by Orinda police due to the smoke from the fire.

UC police sent out an advisory at about 2:40 p.m. stating that the outage was caused by PG&E having to shut down transformers. The UC police alert warned against using elevators until the power was restored.

Shortly before 3 p.m., the UC Berkeley Twitter account posted that the fire would be causing a power outage across campus and advised people to shut down their electrical devices.

However, UC police sent out an advisory about an hour later saying the outage had been delayed. The alert noted that it was unknown when the outage would actually take place, but warned students and faculty to be prepared.

Shortly before 5 p.m., UC Berkeley police issued a message stating that PG&E had inspected the fire-impacted power lines and issued the all clear. No campus power outage will be required.

Berkeley police also sent out an advisory warning Berkeley hills residents to remain prepared in case the fire near Grizzly Peak continues to grow, though no evacuations have been ordered for residents.

Police also said that anyone who lives in the hills preparing to go home should expect delays due to road closures.

Crews are expected to be on scene throughout the night and into Thursday.

Fire officials said a Cal Fire crew member was injured Wednesday evening while fighting the five-alarm fire near the Berkeley-Oakland border after falling 50 feet down a hillside.

According to Cal Fire Batallion Chief Mike Marcucci, a group of inmate firefighters were on a hillside fighting the fire and disturbed a bee hive.

As they scrambled to get away from the hive, one of the inmate firefighters lost his footing and fell down a hillside.

The firefighter landed on Grizzly Peak Boulevard and suffered facial and head injuries from the impact, Marcucci said.

He was rushed to the hospital and is expected to survive.

TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

Comments

One Comment

  1. Jeannie Bear says:

    You may want to correct your story to state that it is WEDNESDAY afternoon, not Tuesday.

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