Evacuations ordered in wildfire near St. Mary's College

The Merrill Fire, burning in the hills of Moraga, burned up to 40 acres with 80 percent containment early Thursday morning, and forced evacuations 
of at least one neighborhood, according to police and fire officials.

"We were fast asleep," said Eric Yabu. "It was pitch black. My mom woke us up saying we gotta get out. We got dressed in a hurry and took off." 

The fire was first reported at 12:54 a.m. near 46 Merrill Circle North and off Sanders Ranch Road, Contra Costa County Fire Protection 
District Fire Captain George Laing said. It burned south of St. Mary's College but the university was not threatened at this time. However, firefighters said 140 structures were threatened.

"We all went around and knocked on each other's doors," said Jasoon Barash. "Luckily we had enough time to grab clothes." 

Moraga evacuees show up at a Safeway parking lot. Oct. 10, 2019

Scarlett :Lueder said she looked through the window and thought she was seeing a bright sunset, when really it was the blaze. "I thought, 'Oh my gosh, let's pack the things we need and get out.'" 

Moraga police issued evacuation orders for the Sanders Ranch neighborhood. Residents along Sanders Ranch Road, Merrill Drive and 
Harrington road were told to evacuate to St. Monica's Church at 1001 Camino Pablo. The church had no power, however, and residents were showing up to stay in a darkened church. By 5:30 a.m., about half the residents were allowed back home. Only those who live on Merrill Circle were not allowed back in.