DANVILLE (KPIX) – As the North Bay prepares for a red flag fire warning Saturday evening, the East Bay had a big scare that afternoon. A fast-moving vegetation fire in Danville threatened two houses, burned up a hillside, and alarmed the entire neighborhood.
The fire happened just before 12 p.m. at the dead-end street of Gwen Court.
“Within about 10 to 15 minutes, the whole hill was engulfed and it was heading toward my house,” said Tammy Anderson.
Anderson and other neighbors began to think about evacuation.
“You’re thinking ‘what do I need to get out of my house?’ said Anderson.
Another witness was also starting to panic as flames started racing up the hillside.
“Our hearts started pumping. ‘What do we do? What do we do?’ Then the police came and all the fire engines. It was crazy,” said Aurora Georgiou, who was helping her friend move.
Not everybody was ready to run. Some neighbors pulled out their garden hoses to spray down hot spots.
Firefighters focused their efforts on a couple of threatened homes. They covered the side of one house with water and foam.
“We can only help you as much as you help yourself. What I mean by that is if we ask for defensible space, do it. As you can see, this fire was able to slow down in certain areas because the neighborhood did do their defensible space,” said Battalion Chief Dan McNamara with the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District.
Even though it was windy in the afternoon, it wasn’t as hot in Danville. But firefighters say it doesn’t take much for a fire to take off with all the dry grass in the area.
“Just be vigilant. I don’t want people’s guard to get down by thinking ‘well, we’re not in the red flag area,’ said Chief McNamara.
Firefighters brought in a bulldozer to cut fire lines and make sure it doesn’t spread.
Firefighters from San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District, Alameda County Fire, and Cal Fire contained the fire to about four acres. Fire investigators are looking into whether a compost pile might have started the fire.
As for the neighbors, they’re thankful for the firefighters.
“Yeah, I’m happy to still have a home,” said Anderson.