Residents evacuate as crews battle several brush fires across the Bay Area

Firefighters raced to several wildfires that broke out around the Bay Area Thursday afternoon, threatening homes and in some cases, forcing evacuations.

The first fire, dubbed the Canyon Fire in Alameda County, broke out around 2:17 p.m. on the Pleasanton Ridge between Bernal Avenue and Castlewood Drive.

The fire prompted mandatory evacuations for residents living in the area of Golden Eagle Estates in Pleasanton and the Kilkare Road area of Sunol. Those evacuation orders were lifted just before 8 p.m. 

A designated shelter was set up for evacuees at the Pleasanton Library, located at 400 Old Bernal Avenue. 

Fire officials said forward progress of the fire has been stopped. Two firefighters suffered heat exhaustion and dehydration. They were taken to the hospital. Both are expected to make a full recovery. 

Alameda County Fire Dept. Deputy Chief Eric Moore reminded that California is in a severe drought. He said that unfortunately we can expect more fires like this in the next several months. 

The Canyon Fire is at 71 acres with 10% containment. Firefighters are expected to work toward full containment through the night.  

Another blaze called the Timm Fire erupted further north, north of Vacaville around 2:18 p.m. The fire is in the area of Buena Vista Lane and Timm Road in Solano County. According to Cal Fire LNU, forward progress of the blaze has been stopped and the fire was 80% contained by evening. Firefighters are expected to work on hot spots and containment throughout the evening. Officials reduced the acreage from 39 to 26 acres after better mapping. 

Then over in Contra Costa County, flames erupted in the town of Port Costa and threatened homes.

The Scenic Fire, now estimated to be between 100 and 140 acres, ignited on Carquinez Scenic and Canyon Lake drives, just east of Crockett. Officials said the fire is 50% contained.

The county's alert system notified residents in the area of Carquinez Scenic Drive, Port Costa Reservoir St/4WD Road to prepare to evacuate. Just after 5 p.m., an all clear was given for residents. Port Costa is a town of about 200 people.

At one point, Cal Fire upgraded the warning to a mandatory evacuation for the vicinity of Carquinez Scenic and Canyon Lake drives. 

Many chose to evacuate. Residents waited in their vehicles outside of town with their pets. Suzanne Statler List made sure her dog Izzy had water while she chatted with neighbors, eager for updates.

"I’d say for a lot of years we’ve seen fuel on the hill we knew a fire was likely to happen at some point," said List. "But you always hope it’s not today or tomorrow."

Resident Scotty Hopkins also evacuated with his dog Wesley. He said during the summer months, he always has a bag packed.

"It happened really quick," said Hopkins. "I got a phone call from my neighbor and then people were banging on the door like get the hell out."

At an afternoon news conference, Steve Trotter with Contra Costa County Fire Protection District said firefighters were making good progress and seemed confident about working toward containment. 

"Originally it was really erratic, a lot of spotting upon arrival. That was the major concern of the chief officers arriving," said Trotter.

He said the terrain of the fire's location was challenging to access.

"It’s a difficult area to get into. There’s very little road access. So crews are walking in," said Trotter.

Neighboring agencies helped battle the fire.The cause of the fire is under investigation.  

Just before 4 p.m., the Benicia Fire Department said it sent firefighters to a second-alarm grass fire near Corte Dorado near the Valero Refinery in Solano County. There are no evacuations at this time.

Back in Alameda County later in the evening, firefighters responded to the Tesla Inc Fire, a vegetation fire in the vicinity of Tesla and Corral Hollow roads, in the eastern foothills of Livermore. The fire broke out just before 6 p.m. Within minutes, it spread to 100 acres, Cal Fire SCU said. 

By 9 p.m., it had reached 300 acres with 10% containment and had warranted an aggressive attack by firefighters. Crews are expected to work towards full containment through the night.