Brush Fire Chars Hillside Near Blackhawk Plaza

Crews from the San Ramon Valley Fire Department battled a grass fire in the hill behind the Blackhawk Plaza.

Just after 12:00 p.m. Wednesday, crews from the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District were dispatched to multiple reports of a vegetation fire in the hill behind the Blackhawk Plaza.

Limited access to the fire made it difficult for firefighters to get to the blaze. Upon arrival, firefighters found a 2 acre fire burning on the hilltop behind the Plaza. With plenty of wind atop the hill, the fire was allowed to spread to 4-5 acres.

Fire officials requested ground and air resources from CAL Fire to help firefighters. A helicopter from the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office was also requested to help observe the fire from the air, but later diverted to help with a rescue on Mt. Diablo.

Additionally, a bulldozer from the Alameda County Fire Department was also called to the scene.

At around 12:40 p.m., aircraft from CAL Fire began dropping water on the blaze. A helicopter could be seen scooping water from multiple locations around the Blackhawk Country Club golf course.

Fire officials declared the blaze under control at approximately 1:00 p.m. According to Deputy Chief Lon Phares, the fire was started by a bulldozer conducting weed abatement on the hilltop.

Phares says the driver smelled smoke coming from the bulldozer as he was conducting the abatement. Upon exiting the vehicle, the driver found that the bulldozer had caught fire. He unsuccessfully attempted to extinguish the flames using a fire extinguisher. Once sparked, the fire spread to the dry brush on the hillside.

According to Phares, the driver of the bulldozer escaped without injury. Many of our readers reported an “explosion” on the top of the hill, followed by black smoke. It appears that both the sound and smoke were a result of the fire beginning to engulf the bulldozer.

The fire is the third major fire this year sparked by weed abatement in the San Ramon Valley. Earlier in June, firefighters battled a 33 acre blaze near the Blackhawk Golf Course and another fire in Magee Ranch a week later.

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