Crews battling multiple vegetation fires sparked during Bay Area thunderstorm

The lightning from Sunday morning’s storm sparked several wildfires around the Bay Area. 

The fire battles began at 3 a.m. for firefighters around the Bay. Lightning streaked across the sky and touched down in several rural areas. One bolt struck San Francisco’s Sutro Tower. 

At one point, Cal Fire and local fire departments battled eight to ten different fires. 

By Sunday evening, fire crews were still battling the Marsh Fire in Santa Clara County off Arroyo Hondo and Oakridge Roads (three separate fires totalling 585 acres as of Sunday 6:30 p.m.) and the Deer Zone Fire in Contra Costa County (four separate fires, with the largest at 325 acres still uncontained as of Sunday 6:30 p.m)

Contra Costa County fire crews had their hands full fighting multiple fires off Deer Valley and Marsh Creek Roads near Brentwood. 

“The Deer Zone Fire is multiple fires that started off at 5 and 6 this morning, which includes the Round Fire,” said ECCFPD Fire Marshal Steve Aubert. “We had approximately 6 different fires, what we believe all to be resulting from lightning strikes.”

Firefighters were able to knock the fires down to four, but a precautionary evacuation order was issued for Morgan Territory Road. 

“I haven’t seen lightning like that since I was a kid. It was like a strike at least every minute,” said John Curtis, who lives in unincorporated Clayton.

“It was actually a lot, I was afraid to go outside,” said resident May Sriprasert.

“You could see the line of lightning across the sky. And it was constantly, you could see the light would flash.”

The National Weather Service tweeted that the cluster of severe thunderstorms generated extremely strong erratic wind gusts. But Aubert said the fires were not moving too fast by late morning. 

Cal Fire issued a red flag warning until Monday afternoon.