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Morgan fire in Mt. Diablo State Park now 70% contained

September 11, 2013|By Hailey Branson-Potts

The Morgan fire at Mt. Diablo State Park in Northern California was 70% contained on Wednesday, and officials said they hoped to have it fully contained by Friday.

An estimated 3,133 acres have burned so far, said Tina Rose, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

The fire, which was first reported Sunday afternoon, spread rapidly because of steep terrain and dry conditions, Rose said. 

“It’s hard to keep a fire under control when it’s bone-dry because the slightest little wind is going to spread the fire,” Rose said.

The steep terrain also made it difficult for firefighters to reach it, she said.

A short period of slightly cooler temperatures and higher humidity helped firefighters cut fire lines Monday night that they were able to maintain Tuesday, she said.

“We’ve almost got this thing wrapped up,” she said.

Evacuations and road closures in the area have been lifted, Cal Fire said. The fire was being fought by 38 crews and 1,372 firefighters as of Wednesday morning, according to Cal Fire.

Rose said firefighters were checking hot spots.

“We’ve got to put out every single ember,” she said. “All it would take is one burning little ember to be hit by the wind, and it’s off and running again.”

Fire rehabilitation specialists, including plant and animal experts and archaeologists, have already begun rehabilitating the scarred park, Rose said. Several endangered animal species inhabit the park, she said.

“A wildfire scars a mountain,” she said. “It’s a huge rehabilitation project. This is a state park, and we can’t leave it like that. We’re going to restore it to as pretty a state park as possible.”

The rehabilitation effort includes reseeding the burned areas so vegetation can return quickly.

“The rains will come in a few weeks,” she said. “If there’s no vegetation, that whole mountain is going to be a possible mudslide.”

She added: “We’re going to spend more time rehabilitating the mountain than it took the fire to burn it.”


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