MARTINEZ (CBS SF) — Contra Costa County has declared a local emergency due to severe weather conditions that have prompted numerous area vegetation fires and resulted in significant wind damage, including downed trees – one of which injured several people Sunday morning at the Martinez Farmers Market.

Alameda County Susan Shiu, a spokeswoman for the county, said that this declaration should increase the potential for Contra Costa County to receive funding from the state to help pay for the costs of fighting local fires and dealing with other weather-caused problems.


The proclamation, signed by County Administrator David J. Twa, states that “conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property have arisen within the county, caused by a severe weather event commencing at 8 p.m. (Saturday). The velocity and duration of wind, coupled with low humidity, is driving wildfires in multiple locations, causing power disruptions, tree falls and infrastructure damage, and necessitating evacuations; and that these conditions are or are likely to be beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment and facilities of the county.”

Downed power lines were blamed in a fire that destroyed the Lafayette Tennis Club as firefighters were able to save the surrounding homes.

In Danville, downed tree limbs blocked Diablo Road in separate instances. Hartz Ave. was blocked near Diablo Road because of a large tree branch, while downed power lines were reported on Esther Lane near the city’s downtown area.

In Alameda County, San Leandro and Union City were both dealing with outages beyond this weekend’s PG&E electrical shutoff and Fremont police warned motorists to avoid northbound Mission Boulevard at Nursery as crews worked to remove a downed tree blocking the road.

Union City officials said public works personnel have “been working around the clock to respond to downed tree limbs that are blocking streets and sidewalks and other impacts from the windstorm.”

Downed trees in Union City can be reported at (510) 471-1365. San Leandro residents can report downed trees by calling (510) 577-2740 and selecting option 1.

An firefighter got ash and sand in his eyes and had to get them flushed out in an emergency ambulance (Photo: ECCFPD via Facebook)

The East Contra Costa Fire Protection District had their hands full all day with four vegetation fires in a span of five hours, overwhelming the district’s three fire engines. No structures were lost, but many farm animals–including chickens, goats and one horse–were lost in a the fire on Cypress Road and Broadway.

A firefighter’s eyes had to be flushed out in an emergency when ash and sand flew into them. But firefighters Sunday evening have since returned to their stations and restocked their engines, getting the chance to rest, shower and eat, ECCFPD said.

PG&E announced a possible third consecutive Public Safety Power Shutdown due to dangerous fire conditions that would affect customers in 32 counties starting Tuesday.

Anyone seeing a downed or sparking electrical line should leave the area immediately and call 911, then report it to PG&E at (800) 743-5000.