Fireworks started 2-acre grass fire in Berkeley-Oakland hills

Firefighters were able to put out the blaze quickly with an "aggressive fire attack," BFD said. Authorities are investigating how it started.

Fireworks started 2-acre grass fire in Berkeley-Oakland hills
A vegetation fire in the Berkeley-Oakland hills on Monday, July 1, 2024. Wendell Laidley

Update, July 2: A 2-acre vegetation fire in the Berkeley-Oakland hills Monday night started because of fireworks, authorities said Tuesday.

Firefighters were able to put out the blaze quickly with an "aggressive fire attack."

No one was injured and no structures were threatened, the Berkeley Fire Department said.

The Berkeley Police Department and Cal Fire are investigating the circumstances that led to the fire.

BFD said five local agencies responded in total — from Berkeley, Oakland, El Cerrito, Moraga-Orinda and Cal Fire — bringing 20 fire engines to the scene.

"Because of our joint training with our local agencies the crews communicated well, had no hesitation in their mission and worked quickly and efficiently to knock this fire down," BFD said. "As recently as last week we had drills with three of these agencies to work on communication, tactics, and area familiarization in this very area."

A vegetation fire in the Berkeley-Oakland hills on Monday, July 1, 2024. Wendell Laidley

Original story: Firefighters from numerous agencies knocked down a vegetation fire in the Berkeley-Oakland hills on Monday night.

According to the Watch Duty app, the fire spread across about 2 acres in the hills near Grizzly Peak Boulevard and Centennial Drive.

Firefighters in Berkeley and Oakland began getting reports about the vegetation fire shortly after 9:30 p.m., according to emergency dispatches reviewed by The Scanner.

OFD and BFD both dispatched crews to the scene.

The East Bay Regional Park District also responded, as did the California Highway Patrol, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) and the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District, according to emergency dispatches and authorities.

East Bay Parks advised BFD that the 1-acre fire was visible "on both sides of the road" as of about 9:40 p.m.

According to emergency dispatches, some callers to UCPD reported people lighting fireworks in the area of the Lawrence Hall of Science at about that time, but it was unclear as of publication time whether those reports were related to the fire.

Berkeley firefighters confirmed over the radio that they could see the fire burning on top of the ridgeline as they came up Centennial Drive just after 9:40 p.m.

One Berkeley firefighter also said he could see the fire on an Alert California wildfire camera facing the hills from downtown Berkeley as of about 9:45 p.m.

OFD asked Oakland police to block off Grizzly Peak at Claremont Avenue at about 9:50 p.m., according to emergency dispatches.

By 10:10 p.m., UCPD was reporting that the fire's "forward progress" had been stopped.

Authorities reported that the fire was fully knocked down by 10:35 p.m.

Grizzly Peak fire: No homes "immediately threatened"

A bit later, OFD posted a summary online.

"Just after 9pm, Oakland Fire joined units from @BerkeleyProFire, @EBRPD and @ContraCostaFire to stop forward progress and contain a vegetation fire near Centennial Drive & Grizzly Peak. The incident is under control," the Oakland Fire Department reported on X. "No homes were immediately threatened. Fire under investigation."

"All the fire rigs are off Grizzly Peak and the fire has been tamped down," UCPD reported at 11:45 p.m.

The Scanner has asked the Berkeley Fire Department for comment and will update this story if additional information becomes available.

Berkeley July 4th safety tips: Avoid fireworks, hillside roads
Certain streets will be closed July Fourth with access limited mostly to residents. Details here.
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