Grass fire burning west of Brentwood in Contra Costa County

Forward progress has been made on a 255-acre grass fire burning west of Brentwood at Deer Valley Road and Empire Mine Road, officials say. 

The so-called Empire Fire, first reported just after 3:00 p.m., is at 75% containment, fire officials said. Firefighters got the upper hand about an hour and a half after the fire started.  

Cal Fire's SCU unit, which serves the area, and The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District are at the scene. 

Officials did not indicate if any structures were threatened, but a house was covered in fire retardant. No injuries have been reported. 

Cal Fire said firefighters continue to build and maintain control lines while mitigating any hazards. 

Since Jan. 1, Cal Fire and the U.S. Forest Service have responded to 2,601 fires. 

Cal Fire Deputy Chief Jonathan Cox said the agency's fire suppression goal is to keep 95% of fires at 10 acres or less. Of this year's 2,601 fires, only 180 were more than 10 acres. 

The average fire is kept to about 40 acres, which means the ability to fight fire in the state is pretty good. 

Firefighters respond to the Empire Fire west of Brentwood. 

The ability to fight fire from above has been a game changer. Cox said Cal Fire has the largest air firefighting force in the world. Their tanker planes can be on fire anywhere in the state in 20 minutes or less. 

"What we're seeing this year is; we're seeing that the weather is really playing a big factor in the number of fires and the ways the fires are behaving," said Cox. He said up until a few days ago, winds were the primary force driving the size of the fires. But the remnants of a tropical storm resulted in lightning strikes across the Sierra and Northern California, which resulted in a number of fires. 

The Empire Fire west of Brentwood. June 26, 2024.


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