Crews make major progress on Tesla Fire containment

A day after firefighters started struggling to keep up with a fast-moving fire east of Livermore, crews had made major progress with the Tesla Fire about 45 percent contained by early Thursday evening.

If you look at it, you can see that most of the fire zone is essentially out, though the hills between Livermore and Tracy are still smoldering one day later.

"We do have some pockets of unburned fuel that are close the line, so we are going to be reinforcing those lines throughout today, tonight and into tomorrow," said Contra Costa Assistant Fire Chief Lewis Broschard, who is helping out with this fire.

The Tesla Fire started at about 2:45 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. Within hours had spread across 2,500 acres.

"The sky was turning colors. It was getting pretty scary actually. The whole sky changed!" exclaimed area resident Mae Long, whose house was in the path of the fire.

You can actually see that the flames came within feet of Long's home. But crews stood their ground, saving her house and numerous other homes and outbuildings that are sprinkled across this rural part of eastern Alameda County.

"It looks like…we were just like golden, in the middle of all these flames. And so we're just really happy," said Long. She added the sight of the ashes so close to her home is scary. "Oh my God, I could have lost everything. Everything."

We all know how tinder dry the fuels are out here with the drought, and all it takes is a spark and some wind to wreak havoc for firefighters.

"Last night the winds gusted to well over 25-30 miles an hour. And that type of activity can definitely change the containment picture," said Broschard.

Two fireplaces stand precariously where the home around them burned to the ground. It is the only house lost to the fire. The good news is no one lived there.

"A former residence that was abandoned and set to be demolished, and that was lost in the fire," said Broschard.

Most of the fire zone is now just charred land with no danger of flames spreading to any other vegetation. But one area in the middle is seeing active flames, and the danger there is still high.

"Because they have the potential to throw brands and embers across the line, and that's what we're worried about with some of the area on this incident, particularly as the afternoon and evening winds pick up," explained Broschard.

Mae Long was amazed by the firefighters' hard work.

"I'm just so thankful to all the firefighters. And I just really feel blessed," said Long.

Investigators told KTVU they're still trying to determine what caused the Tesla Fire.