Firefighters on alert as heat wave brings high fire danger to Contra Costa County


ORINDA, Calif. (KRON) — As the sun beared down on Contra Costa County Friday, winds remained calm with temperatures in the 70’s. But this weekend will bring a recipe for disaster, high temps, low humidity and winds gusting to 50 mile per hour.

“We’re looking at very high fire danger and we have a lot of dry fuel that’s just waiting to burn,” Steve Hill with the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District said.

It was last October when Contra Costa County experienced similar conditions and had a fire siege. Ten major fires in a 15 hour period — including one that jumped the Carquinez Bridge.

“Sleep with one eye open,” Peter Weis said.

Those who live in Contra Costa County have been through this before and are ready.

“We know where our PC is and our personal documents are if we have to evacuate,” Weis said. “We know the drill lets hope it doesn’t happen.”

Many residents have done a good job cleaning brush and creating defensible space around their property. Fire departments have also done their share of prescribed burns like one in Orinda.

“That’s an area that will not burn again this year and that reduces the potential for fire at this intersection which is critical to the evacuation routes in north Orinda,” Moraga Orinda Fire Chief Dave Winnacker said.

To prepare, Contra Costa is adding five wildland fire engines and crews, two dozers, two water tankers, a 12-person hand crew and a helicopter that will solely focus on fighting fire from the air.

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