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Mt. Diablo State Park fire grows to 1,500 acres, gets more resources

September 09, 2013|By Jason Wells
  • The Morgan fire in Mt. Diablo State Park burns out of control Sunday night.
The Morgan fire in Mt. Diablo State Park burns out of control Sunday night. (Andy Alfaro / Associated…)

More than 700 firefighters were trying to get the upper hand Monday on a Bay Area wildfire that has burned 1,500 acres in Mt. Diablo State Park.

Called the Morgan fire, the blaze was first reported Sunday shortly after 1 p.m. in the kind of steep, dry terrain that has fueled the rapid spread of other wildfires this year, most notably the Rim fire near Yosemite National Park.

A large order of new firefighters was called in as the Morgan fire nearly doubled overnight, prompting authorities to issue evacuation orders for about 100 homes.

The fire was just 10% contained Monday and threatened PG&E electrical transmission lines, as well as communications infrastructure on Mt. Diablo and historical buildings at the summit, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Crews were dealing with steep terrain as air tankers and helicopters dropped water. Low humidity and dry brush were fueling the fire’s spread, said Cal Fire staff chief David Shew. "Pretty erratic winds” that have a history of blowing around Mt. Diablo were also hindering the firefighters' efforts.

Evacuations were ordered for Oak Hill Lane, Curry Canyon and Curry Point. Only a few residents had trickled in to a shelter set up at Clayton Community Library in Clayton, but it was ordered to remain open for two more nights, said Jim Mallory, a Red Cross spokesman at the site.

“We’re just in a kind of standby mode,” he said.

Meanwhile, with large plumes of smoke rising from the state park in the distance, the library remained open for business, branch manager Karen Hansen-Smith said.

Beyond fielding a few phone calls from residents wondering if the library was open, she said there didn’t appear to be much concern given that everything seemed to be out of harm's way.

“But you never know,” she added.


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