400+ acre fire currently burning on Diablo

August 24, 2010 17:18 pm · 122 comments

Firefighters are currently battling a 50-acre blaze in Mt. Diablo State Park, on Curry Canyon Road near Morgan Territory.

Thanks to “Cathy” for the picture!

Stay tuned for updates….

UPDATE, 5:24pm: The fire is now at 100-acres and growing.

Our friend “EMSchick” is near the scene, and gives us an update….

-At LEAST 2 dozen + sirens have gone out there so far.

-At least one fixed wing and one helicopter dumping water and retardant.

-Our power went out for 1 or 2 seconds about an hour ago, but came right back on. Sounds like it was started by a transformer blowing from what people are saying.

- We are packing up our valuables because it is so big and moving so fast.

Thanks! And we appreciate everyone’s thoughts and prayers to protect our homes.

The blaze started at about 4:15 this afternoon.

UPDATE, 5:38pm: There is talk about closing down Morgan Territory Road, and also Mt. Diablo State Park. I would count on this happening very soon, because this blaze is growing.

UPDATE, 6:02pm: According to CalFIRE, the blaze is now at about 150-acres.

Thanks to “Pat” for the bottom picture!

UPDATE, 6:04pm: “EMSchick” fills us in with more information….

It is in a fairly rural area, but several houses are around. Where the fire is burning is very close to Curry Canyon trailer park, which has a lot of residents.

It appears to be heading up a hill towards the mountain now, away from the trailer park. We live just over the hill, as well as many more people.

If it keeps coming over the hill it will end up right where we are. Our area is mostly houses on about 5 acres. But there is so much fuel, once the fire gets going, it’s very hard to stop.

Thanks so much for the updates! Good luck!

UPDATE, 8:30pm: CalFIRE just gave us an update. The fire is 5% contained and has currently burned about 200-acres.

UPDATE, 10pm: CalFIRE is now saying the fire is at 400-acres and 50% contained.

Thanks to “Radar” for the slideshow pictured above!

UPDATE, Wednesday morning, 7:29am: The fire is now 85% contained at 400 acres.

1 ev August 24, 2010 at 5:19 PM

The fire is now at 100 acres,

2 :) August 24, 2010 at 5:22 PM

CalFire had to stop on Clayton at Barbis for some idiot jaywalking and a bunch of other morons who didn’t understand they need to move over for sirens! Hope the battle it quickly!

3 SPAZiAM August 24, 2010 at 5:24 PM

The only way in and out of that area is a VERY narrow 2 lane road. I remember alot of horses back there too. Fingers crossed for the best possible outcome.

4 Tami August 24, 2010 at 5:25 PM

I just heard Morgan Territory Road is closed. Check in before driving home.

5 just me August 24, 2010 at 5:30 PM

Watch out for equipment on all WC/Concord/Clayton roads, I heard a SRV Fire capt say “tell them this a major incident” when talking to his dispatch. CalFire, ConFire, and SRV are moving equipment all around the area and working both sides of Mt. D. They requested Morgan Territory be closed by the CHP. More strike teams and aircraft were being requested. They also requested that Mt Diablo be closed to everyone.

6 dave c August 24, 2010 at 5:30 PM

I can see the smoke over here in oakley. must be pretty decent sized.

7 Mad Mom August 24, 2010 at 5:32 PM

I can’t even imagine fighting a fire on such a hot, hot day. True heroes! I hope this ends soon but I’ve watched the mountain burn many times over the years. I hope no one gets hurt.

8 just me August 24, 2010 at 5:35 PM

It’s a pretty crazy time for CoCo Fire, you had a large fire in Concord about 20 mins before this incident. Walnut Creek had a fire in downtown and now SRV is responding to a fire and explosion. I heard at one point they had asked for a call out to the on call firefighters in East County as well.

9 Cathy August 24, 2010 at 5:41 PM

Mayor, if you hear anyone needs help getting animals out or anything, let us know. Our favorite dog boarding place, Camp Four Paws, is out there on Curry Canyon and I already called an offered help if they need help getting dogs out…

Where is it exactly? Near homes, or just running up the mountain?

10 Me August 24, 2010 at 5:41 PM

anyone know why I saw a fire north of monument in the area of the freeway off ramp at clayton road or the houses nearby houses. Thick black smoke but from a small source. I figured that’s what the sirens were for. Nope

11 just me August 24, 2010 at 5:43 PM

to add a little humor to the day, CalFire engine 1666 just asked for someone to check their firehouse out (Sunshine/Clayton Station). They may have left an appliance on………..now how many of us have done that??

12 Mr. Mayor August 24, 2010 at 5:43 PM

I will, thanks, cathy. It is near homes.

13 morgant August 24, 2010 at 5:52 PM

Mr. Mayor your on KRON 4 right now they are using the photo

14 ki6qio August 24, 2010 at 5:53 PM

its at 125 arcres now and the smoke is blowing to the walnutcreek side but the fire has not spread to that side yet

15 Come on Cathy! August 24, 2010 at 5:53 PM

Here we go again with putting the animals first on the priority list. That’s okay because animals are cute and cuddly! :)

Funny how Cathy’s last sentence asks if it’s near homes or up the mountain. I know people are more dumb these days, but you’d think they’d be a priority over animals.

People first, animals second (or third).

16 just me August 24, 2010 at 5:53 PM

According to Battalion 5 at this time no evacuations are needed around the fire. That’s the good news. Other news the fire is now at 125 acres, some rescources may need to be divereted to a fire in the San Jose area.

As for “me” comments, that was probably the 2 alarm garage fire earlier in Concord.

17 Connie Dobbs August 24, 2010 at 5:54 PM

Don’t they know it’s a Spare The Air Day?

18 Kimie August 24, 2010 at 5:54 PM

Mayor claycord just got props on channel four news for Cathys pic good job!!!

19 Cathy August 24, 2010 at 5:57 PM

HA, that’s my photo! Anyway, good luck to all out there :(

20 Joe Schmoe August 24, 2010 at 6:00 PM

Was just hiking up there this morning. Afterwards before I drove home, I had a smoke and didn’t see any signs of fire!?

21 ConcordCatLady August 24, 2010 at 6:00 PM

Yep I heard you on Kron4 also. Heading up to Lime Ridge to see if I can get a better view. The news said this is not near homes.

22 EMSchick August 24, 2010 at 6:02 PM

It is in a fairly rural area, but several houses are around. Where the fire is burning is very close to Curry Canyon trailer park, which has a lot of residents. It appears to be heading up a hill towards the mountain now, away from the trailer park. We live just over the hill, as well as many more people. If it keeps coming over the hill it will end up right where we are. Our area is mostly houses on about 5 acres. But there is so much fuel, once the fire gets going, it’s very hard to stop.

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers!

P.S. KRON 4 just quoted Claycord, and me =) Although they did call me a “he,” and can’t pronounce “EMS chick.”

23 Neal August 24, 2010 at 6:05 PM

Anyone else experiencing power outage? I’m in the 3800 block of walnut in Concord. PG&E recording says wide spread

24 Phil August 24, 2010 at 6:14 PM

I can see the smoke from my office here in Dublin.

25 just me August 24, 2010 at 6:15 PM

According to ConFire Morgan Territory is OPEN, but according to CalFire it’s closed. I don’t see anything on CHP dispatch saying it’s closed. I would think the CHP would be closing the rd if requested, that’s not CoCoSO job to close. I think CalFire is still asking the road to be closed, they are worried when they bring in the larger dozers and hand crew trucks it may get crowded. Sounds like they will be bringing in more crews for tomorrow so this could be goin for a few more hrs to say the least.

26 ppatriot August 24, 2010 at 6:21 PM

oh jeez , I hope they can get it under control soon

27 biggus thinkus August 24, 2010 at 6:22 PM

Let us all wish truly the best for those in the fires path, and hope they all incorporated “defensive space” to minimize any possible damage to their homes. Good luck, Godspeed to the firefighters toughing it out on Diablo. If any of you have bouldered Rock City (Live Oak) or Castle Rock, you know how hot and tough it can be.

28 Cathy August 24, 2010 at 6:24 PM

Don’t be a jerk about my question about the animals.. I asked because there are boarding kennels and boarding stables out there. The people are presumably getting the news, but if you have a kennel of 30 dogs you may not be able to get them all out yourself. SO forgive my offer of help. If you’re out there, and you need help moving you – I’ll help you do that too.

29 Jules August 24, 2010 at 6:25 PM

I also hope this is contained fast. I remember the fire of 1977, burned 6000 acres.

30 just me August 24, 2010 at 6:28 PM

150 acres, potential to be 500. About 15% contained, more air rescources being brought in. Asking for Public Information Officer to come to scene. Strike Teams are being brought in from other CalFire units should be arriving in the next few hrs. Currently sounds like it’s CalFire, ConFire, East Contra Costa Fire, Alameda County Fire, and SRV Fire are working together.

31 Chris August 24, 2010 at 6:29 PM

Does anyone know if limeridge open space is closed?

32 Yolanda August 24, 2010 at 6:30 PM

Neal, I just was watching the news about an hour ago, and there were reports of power lines down. It’s suspected that they may be the cause of the fire. Over 100 acres have burned so far, but it’s expected that the fire will be contained this evening. There are reports of some structures being threatened, but I have not heard about any evacuations yet.

33 Really Old Timer August 24, 2010 at 6:33 PM

Is Curry-Creek Park still over there?

34 Peggy Hetlage August 24, 2010 at 6:37 PM

My neighbor said there was a loud boom right before the sirens started. Power related??

35 Diablo dude August 24, 2010 at 6:38 PM

Morgan is closed on the Livermore side and at curry canyon. I just drove threw to check my horses

36 Neal August 24, 2010 at 6:38 PM

Power back on in Concord after 2 1/2 hour outage

37 Sulli05 August 24, 2010 at 6:39 PM

I just came from my parents house on Morgan Territory. It is not closed at this time.

38 Broken August 24, 2010 at 6:56 PM

I wouldn’t be surprised if the power outages are due to the heat and everyone running the a/c. power outages seem to always happen when it gets hot like this.

another thing with the animals, they can’t really get themselves to safety. people have plenty of time now and the ability to do so. the animals don’t so it makes complete sense to ask if help is needed getting them out.

39 steve weir/(JohnJay) August 24, 2010 at 7:07 PM

We had this discussion some months ago. Mr.Mayor: please post our most recent conversation about fire management. I’m positing that this fire is an opportunity to let it burn.

Low humidity, high temp. but low wind and the prospect for low winds, let it burn. Use scientific fire management rules, factor in the possibility of structural fires, and calculate projected winds (very low probability).

40 ChrisB August 24, 2010 at 7:16 PM

Per Con Fire 5% containment and 200 acres burned at 7 PM

41 Seth August 24, 2010 at 7:17 PM

The fire is in a heavily wooded north-facing branch of upper Curry Canyon, downhill and west of Windy Point. There is one house back in the next canyon to the west, which is also heavily wooded. There are high tension PG&E towers in between the two canyons. There are fire roads along the ridges encircling the canyon, although part of the fire roads have big trees so they could block them. If the fire crosses the upper fire road it’ll get more complicated; at that point it’ll be in Knobcone Pines and chaparral, more explosive, and overlooking Blackhawk.

A trailer and another house is lower to the west on the canyon bottom; most of the Curry Canyon houses and trailers are more than a mile to the east.

Luckily it’s not very windy right now but if that changes it could really spark up; there’s a LOT of fuel in that canyon.

42 steve Weir August 24, 2010 at 7:18 PM

P.S., news reports describe this as a low burn fire.

Burns the grass, and undergrowth. but is not a fire that burns the tops of the tree (the critical upper growth zone) which fosters the continued growth of an eco-system.

43 biggus thinkus August 24, 2010 at 7:26 PM

ooh, [ JohnJay ] your stock just went up in my book. yes, we can easily let nature “repair” itself on Diablo right now and I sincerely hope that the Powers That Be will allow it to happen.

Been so very long since I read someone say anything truly as intelligent as that. So very sad the common cry will be “Put it out!”. Folks, this really can make a difference in the future of Diablo.

44 Mustang Mom August 24, 2010 at 7:27 PM

Does anyone remeber the large fire on Mt. Diablo years ago? I can’t seem to remember if it was in the 70’s or 80’s.

45 Did August 24, 2010 at 7:37 PM

Hey! IDE say take the animals first if it was them or YOU! haha, keep in mind that when people have to leave thier homes they often can’t take pets to shelters so I think it’s great the someone offered to help. She wasn’t saying leave the people & take the animals! But I guess if your of substandard intelligence you may missatribute her intentions…


46 SPAZiAM August 24, 2010 at 7:38 PM

Once the sun goes down do the air drops get called off?

47 steve weir August 24, 2010 at 7:39 PM

What is your position on “let it burn”?

48 claytoncate August 24, 2010 at 7:50 PM

Sounds like there is/was a vehicle fire within the last 1/2 hr.

The scanner is really interesting – thanks for the person posting this link on claycord’s facebook page!

49 Really Old Timer August 24, 2010 at 7:51 PM
50 Jan Fab August 24, 2010 at 8:09 PM

We live in Blackhawk and it is super smoky here. Does anyone know how far away Curry Canyon is from Blackhawk as the crow flies?

51 Sarah P. August 24, 2010 at 8:18 PM

I can see the fire from my house….

52 Radar August 24, 2010 at 8:21 PM

Got shots of the fire from Curry Canyon. Going through them now. The battalion chief wouldn’t let the media get too close. Art from Bay Cities news service got some great video.

53 Lichon August 24, 2010 at 8:39 PM

Good community reporting from the community on this forum as usual.

Grew up in the area, and living for the past 20plus years up on the PNW coast.

We can’t travel but reading Claycord helps when wishing we could come visit aging MIL.

Our last place of residence was on Discovery Way just off Ygnacia and of course many memories of the State Park growing up Mt. Diablo.

Stay say Claycordians and thanks to all who contribute to this site.

And Mr. Mayor for keeping the site up to date, literally.

54 just me August 24, 2010 at 8:46 PM

I kinda agree, if no homes or lives are in danger not all bad to let fires burn as long as they do not totally destory the eco system. It really depends on how hot the fire is. As for it making people worried they’d have to evacuate, we don’t have the winds blowing that would cause this fire to be a real issue. If we had Diablo Winds blowing along with the heat and this fire I think we’d have a totally different story. Sounds like all “orders” are in for tomorrow and more strike teams will be arriving all night with both helicopters and tankers to return tomorrow; haven’t heard if there is a base camp or not set up. My guess would be if they were to have one it’d be at the jail (near CalFire station) or possibly out towards Clayton at the Community Park but with school starting that might not work.

55 FMR PH August 24, 2010 at 8:52 PM

Hey Jan Fab – we live in Greenbrook and just got a whiff of the smoke…we thought it was somewhere in the neighborhood.

56 anonamom August 24, 2010 at 8:52 PM

Put a safety perimeter around lived-in structures and let the darned grass and brush burn! Save our firemen and resources for something dangerous.

Our earth loves growing things out of charred topsoil.

57 Chris August 24, 2010 at 8:54 PM

UPDATE 20:53 hours

58 Paul in South Concord August 24, 2010 at 8:58 PM

Art’s da bomb! Or something… Great guy, at least in my experience. Haven’t seen him in some time, probably since I don’t work where I did, when we used to see one another. Good to hear he’s still out there in the thick of it.

59 Chris August 24, 2010 at 8:58 PM

UPDATE 20:54
I can only see 1 chopper now, they’ve got a searhlight going.

So far, I’ve gotten a total count of 3 CDF choppers and 5 CDF fixed-wing. Most have gone home.

60 Chris August 24, 2010 at 9:03 PM

2102 hrs Just heard CalFire say 375 acres, 50% contained.

61 Anon August 24, 2010 at 9:07 PM

Mustang Mom, It was the 70s, I think maybe 77. I remember it vividly , lived in Danville at the time. I was a kid, but remember that mountain glowing at night.

62 solanodave August 24, 2010 at 9:10 PM

I somewhat agree with the “let it burn” to a point. Problem I see is if they take that avenue and it get’s out of their control and destroys some homes the lawsuits will come pouring in for NOT putting it out when they had the chance.

63 dave c August 24, 2010 at 10:06 PM

let it burn? winds moving in tomorrow, that area isnt cooling down much either. They’ll be attacking that sucka hard come first light. 100 degree’s out there again. But if the coast is going to cool off, id imagine they’ll be fighting winds stronger than 5-10mph.

64 Scoots August 24, 2010 at 10:11 PM

Does anyone know how close this fire is to The Diablo Bowmen’s Archery Range?

65 Franky August 24, 2010 at 10:15 PM

The big fire was Aug 1st 1977. Lightning struck Mt. Diablo and the fire burned for the most part of that week.

66 WESTPITTSBURG925 August 24, 2010 at 10:26 PM

Eatin’ Curry chicken by the canyon.. Bout to try some Curry smores!!

67 Peggy August 24, 2010 at 10:27 PM

Scoots: It is going away from the Archery club. The entrance to Curry Canyon is about 1 mile or so further down Morgan Territory Road.

68 Radar August 24, 2010 at 10:28 PM

I remember the 77 fire, very scary. Was able to get on my parents roof in Concord and get a good view of the fire.

69 Antler August 24, 2010 at 10:37 PM

“Just Me” at #54~~~ all along Morgan Territory Road there are boarding stables and private homes with large areas cleared for riding arenas (many are show sized)…..water supply, spot lights, and electricity already in place. I’m thinking those would make perfect base camps if that becomes necessary, and they are closer to the fire zone. We have not received a heads-up call from the owner of the stable where we board our horses at the northern end of Morgan Territory Road, which means that the animals are not being agitated by smoke. If that starts to happen, then we would have to trailer them right away while they can still be caught. People have the intelligence and means to evacuate themselves—-USUALLY. But the animals depend on our help to leave. I guess we would have to stake out the horses on our front lawn, if necessary, which would really be an eye-opener at night for the raccoons!

70 Scoots August 24, 2010 at 10:46 PM

Thanks Peggy, I was getting worried. I’m glad theres no wind!

71 Radar August 24, 2010 at 10:47 PM

Paul in South Concord, yeah, Art is amazing, hes always been nice and professional when ever Ive seen him. He always shares his video with the TV crews there but mostly works with KTVU crews.

72 anon August 24, 2010 at 11:01 PM

Are winds forecast tomorrow? I’d imagine like blowing on a near dormant fire in your fireplace, it could spring up hard tomorrow if the winds kicked up. We’ve had a lot of really windy days this summer.. with this heat, we all got very lucky the winds were so calm today. Hope tomorrow brings the same, and or they kill this sucker overnight!

73 Anon August 24, 2010 at 11:10 PM

Thank you for the news and photos of the fire on Morgan Territory and Curry Canyon. Hope Camp 4 Paws is OK.

74 Anon August 24, 2010 at 11:15 PM

The photos were really great. Good action photos of the firemen, planes and great horsie photo. We want to nominate them for the Pulitizer for local coverage.

75 Peggy August 24, 2010 at 11:40 PM

I stopped at camp 4 Paws about 5 to see if they needed help. Close to fire, bit it is going away from that area. All was well.

I still hear copters flying … strange when it is usually so quiet

76 James August 24, 2010 at 11:53 PM

I was planning to go hiking tomorrow through regency but will i be able too?

77 anewsrat August 24, 2010 at 11:53 PM

This fire is not even on Mt. Diablo. We all know it is south east. I am an avid radio listener, and it would appear the dozers, are making good progress placing a line around the fire in the grass land. It the fire would cross into park property, it would have to get some wind on it. It sounds, also like, the engines are surrounding the sparse homes, out here, and God bless they protect them. So, far , it sounds like the loss is some scrub,
and perhaps, some illegal pot plantations. Seems like there everywhere now. Keep our good neighbors safe, fire folks!.

78 snurmac August 25, 2010 at 12:21 AM

anewsrat August 24, 2010 at 11:53 PM

The fire IS in Mount Diablo State Park. You are correct in saying that the fire is not “on Mt. Diablo” (even though the Mt. abbreviation is incorrect) because the fire is to the south of Mount Diablo. However, the fact is that the fire is primarily burning (or has burned) on property belonging to Mount Diablo State Park.

Don’t believe wholeheartedly what you see on the news or hear on the radio. The facts always come out in the end and it is incredible that people swallow what the media feeds them.

79 Radar August 25, 2010 at 12:35 AM

Anon 11:15 I like that idea of the Pulitzer nomination! Nomination catagory: Spot news or action photography. Its all good!

80 Radar August 25, 2010 at 12:39 AM

Snurmac, I agree. The stations of the NBC and CBS persuasion had no idea where the location was. KNTV so clueless about our area its laughable and pathetic, no wonder I refuse to watch it!

81 edna August 25, 2010 at 12:55 AM

what’s the update? i dont have tv and i’ve got friends in the curry creek park. and thanks cathy for offering for helping the animals, we know that people are the priority and you were thinking ahead. always a complainer in the mix.

82 anewsrat August 25, 2010 at 1:51 AM

In the last, I agree, but, this fire is only touching the “so called”, State Park.

83 for Radar August 25, 2010 at 2:41 AM

Radar – thanks for the excellent photos. I thought that the one of the firefighters marching in line with their gear was particularly good, pertinent, and of interest.

I always look at fire photos, and that shot stands out as being different than the ones usually seen, and shows them in action in a different manner than usually depicted.

84 for Seth August 25, 2010 at 3:23 AM

Thank you for the descriptive explanation of where the fire is. I see on the map a square of non-park property in Curry Canyon west of Grizzly Bear Rd. – is that still non-park property?

I am not intending to hike in that area anytime soon, but I am curious since the closest I have seen to there is the Frog Pond Rd. If one were planning to explore that area, where would the best access be for starting out?

85 Antler August 25, 2010 at 5:59 AM

James at #76

It’s already a “Spare the Air” day and will be up near 100º. Hiking in that would be bad enough for anyone’s health. But now you have to add acrid smoke into the mix. Plus I believe that firefighters have requested that no-one enter the park.

Does anyone know whether the Mount Diablo State Park staff has made an official closure?

86 Mustang Mom August 25, 2010 at 6:36 AM

Thank you Anon, I just relized I was 9 yrs. old when that happened, but like what Radar had said I remember seeing the mountain glow at night.

87 Seth August 25, 2010 at 8:14 AM

Someone suggested the fire is nowhere near Blackhawk; they’re wrong. It doesn’t look like Blackhawk is threatened at all but the top of the canyon that is/was burning is Windy Point, Cave Point, Knobcone Point. Most of it appeared to be private land, but the structure that was most threatened is in the next canyon west, an inholding surrounded by State Park lands.

The upper part of the fire was 1.5-2 miles from Blackhawk; the lower part about an equal distance from the main group of houses in lower Curry Canyon.

Knobcone Point is the watershed saddle/divide between the Curry Creek-Marsh Creek watershed and the Alamo Creek sub drainage of the Alameda Creek watershed. Knobcone Point’s Alamo Creek drains directly through Blackhawk–in fact the creek feeds a couple of Blackhawk golf course ponds.

My point was that if the fire got into Knobcone Point, things get dicier because it’s solid chaparral and knobcone pine, which is a fire adapted species. It would still be uphill of Blackhawk and there are big grassland buffers there.

Absent wind, fires usually travel uphill, which is why the ridgeline fire road is a good fire break–on the CCTimes video I saw the firefighters setting backfires along that ridge fire road to create a bigger fire break. But the canyons can act like wind tunnels-blast furnaces too; as I understand it the 1977 Clayton-Eagle Peak fire traveled up the mountain through Prospectors Gap and down toward Morgan Territory then ran back up the mountain and down onto the north side again.

Most of the fire is/was on private land which the State Park wraps around to the south from Sycamore Canyon to Blackhawk Ridge to Oyster Point to Riggs Canyon.

You can’t really see it without trespassing; the Curry Canyon fire road/trail follows the canyon below the fire; the Knobcone Point Fire Road/trail starts at Curry Point in the State Park, then follows the ridgeline above the fire area, leaving the State Park just past Balancing Rock, then re-entering the State Park/Riggs Canyon past Cave Point (Riggs Canyon trail) then again east of Windy Point (Highland Ridge Road/trail).

88 Snurmac August 25, 2010 at 8:40 AM

Anewsrat and Seth…

Most of the fire involves park property. It started in the park, burned uphill and then started burning downhill in many fingers. There were also several spot fires as well.

89 just me August 25, 2010 at 8:54 AM

Here is the 6:30am update from Cal Fire http://www.fire.ca.gov/downloads/incidents/2010/CurryFire8-25.pdf

As for Blackhawk, at one point that’s where SRV had put their engines and command staff, they were watching the fire work its way up the Mountain. So while it may have never been truly in danger, SRV was worried enough they had engines stationed there.

90 Seth August 25, 2010 at 9:01 AM

Snurmac, if that’s so it must have started in the canyon near a 5-acre inholding/private parcel surrounded by the park–which makes some sense if it really did start from one of the PG&E towers as some news sources are suggesting–and then burned east over into the next canyon, which is private. The main part I could see on video is private.

91 ConcordCatLady August 25, 2010 at 9:04 AM

I heard the firefighers were also having to deal with a bunch of tarantulas on top of 100+ degree weather. *shudder*

92 Thank you Seth August 25, 2010 at 9:04 AM

Thank you very much, Seth, for your great/educational descriptions.

93 John Hemm August 25, 2010 at 9:06 AM

In nature, fire is a way of clearing old,dead brush, natures way of cleaning house. I say let it burn. The mountain and nature were there long before the eyesores that people call “homes” were established.

94 Paul in South Concord August 25, 2010 at 9:13 AM

…and Radar, he’s tops too. I’ve just met Art a number of times but have not yet had the pleasure of making Radar’s acquaintance.

Sorry M.D. I didn’t mean to snub you, I feel like a tool. :-(

95 James August 25, 2010 at 9:20 AM

Does anybody know if I will be able to hike mt diablo from regency?

96 melliemom August 25, 2010 at 9:35 AM

I left work in Pittsburg at 415PM yesterday. I played leap frog with a Co-Co County firre truck all the way to Morgan Territory Rd. He seemed as if he was lost several times. He had a hard time getting over Kirker Pass. I had to pull over for him around Seeno’s palace but passed him again by the golf course. He and another fire vehicle (supervisor-I think) passed us on Marsh Creek Rd after we started down the hill.

This morning, bringing my daughter in for school, we saw a parade of Cal Fire Trucks and a Kron news van by Diablo View Middle School. It smelled like wet camp fire from the Highway 4 Bypass all the way into Concord and it only looked hazy. We thought the fire had to have been extinguished during the night. All these trucks, we saw in Clayton and Concord, heading through Clayton. Does anyone know if they were coming or going? I hope they get it out fast. My prayers to anyone of you still in harms way.

97 marshcreeker August 25, 2010 at 9:58 AM

I live on Marsh Creek near the Pumpkin Farm. Over the last hour I saw two clean Fire Crew trucks going towards Morgan Territory and two dusty, dirty Fire Crew trucks coming back. I also saw a truck with a bulldozer going in and a truck with a bulldozer coming out. Looks like they are rotating shifts with fresh workers and equipment. Nobody going in fast though. No lights or sirens.

98 Candi August 25, 2010 at 10:16 AM

I have a Very Dear Friend that lives up in that area and have been contacting her to make sure that her and her hubby are doing ok up there. Very Scary that this got going and took so long to get help out there to get this fire put out! There are LOTS of people who live out that way and it really upsets me that they keep reporting it as a “very rural area”!

99 Radar August 25, 2010 at 10:45 AM

Seth thanks for the incredable detail in describing the fire area. You rock dude!

100 Juan San Carlos August 25, 2010 at 10:54 AM

Radar, if you want a photo Pulitzer, you need to post higher resolution images. Just sayin’

101 Juan San Carlos August 25, 2010 at 11:22 AM

As the crow flies, the distance from the fire’s origin to the closest Blackhawk house is about seven miles, as the crow flies.


102 just me August 25, 2010 at 11:27 AM

@Marshcreeker yes, they did swap crews out. The first hand crews I think came out of the Napa area (LNU). The did release 2 to head back and when I was coming to work saw two crews on Clayton Rd headed in. I didn’t hear for sure where those crews were from but as of last night they had crews/trucks headed in from El Dorado County and Santa Cruz/San Mateo (CZU). The dozer you saw leaving was probably the one headed back to Marin County, Marin County was one of the first to arrive late yesterday. I think they have hotel rooms set up at one of the (slum) motels on Clayton Rd for crews that wish to clean up and get some sleep before heading back to their “home” units. It sounds like most of the ConFire and SRV units have been relieved so they can head back to their home stations and the fire is now being handled by CalFire mostly. At the fires peak it there were units from ConFire, SRV, East CoCo, Mor/Or, AlCo Fire, Marin County Fire, and Cal Fire all working together (according to reports from CalFire). Aircraft came from Morgan Hill, Stockton, Columbia, Chico, and Redding.

103 Buck Million August 25, 2010 at 11:54 AM

3 years ago the Mayor did an article on the 30 year anniversary of the 77 Diablo fire:

Seth added a lot to that discussion as well. He is truly an expert on Mount Diablo. I remember that fire very well myself. It was a summer of bad fires. That was also the year Big Sur burned (Marble-Cone fire).

104 Radar August 25, 2010 at 12:01 PM

Juan San Carlos, I dont care about a Pulitzer. I send the mayor lower rez pics because that’s all he needs. If he wants high rez pics I can send them.

105 Mount Diablo State Park closed August 25, 2010 at 12:11 PM

In answer to the inquiry about Regency access to the park, I just called Mount Diablo State Park phone number for park conditions, a person answered the phone. I asked whether the park was open, and she said “the park is closed.”

The numbers listed on the Mount Diablo Interpretive Association website http://www.mdia.org for Mount Diablo State Park information are:
Summit Weather (925) 838-9225
Recorded Park Information (925) 837-2525
Park conditions (925) 837-0904
or (925) 673-6129
Supervising Ranger (925) 855-1730

I am guessing there will not be a sign or anyone at Regency trailhead saying it is closed, but there are probably several reasons it will be helpful to keep people out of the park today. Some that I can think of are if the fire jumps the line so there won’t be people in the park who might be overtaken by fire before they can get out; often, when the temperature is high, people have unexpected heat-related problems on the mountain, and the resources to help in such a situation will be difficult to come by today; the rangers and firefighters and helicopters are involved with the fire, and can’t risk having to be pulled away from that if someone else gets hurt or runs into trouble unexpectedly in the park today.

You were wise to check rather than just trudging in without any effort to find out.

106 Relief Crews August 25, 2010 at 12:19 PM

At 8:15 a.m., I saw to clean, red, shiny Dept. of Corrections trucks with that appeared to be heading in. They were at the corner of Kirker Pass/Clayton Rd. and approaching from the Pittsburg direction.

107 Mt. versus Mount? August 25, 2010 at 12:29 PM

Snurmac indicated that it is incorrect to write Mt. Diablo rather than Mount Diablo. Are you saying the Mt. is not a proper abbreviation for Mount?

I was curious about that because I had not heard that before, but like to be knowledgeable about such things. I found mt. in the Cambridge International and Merriam-Webster dictionaries, and each said that mt. is the abbreviation for mountain. Do you have a different understanding or reason for it being incorrect? I want to find out so that I can write properly, but also I live on a street that has a name beginning with “Mt.”

108 Buck Million August 25, 2010 at 1:06 PM

John Hemm
“In nature, fire is a way of clearing old,dead brush, natures way of cleaning house. I say let it burn. The mountain and nature were there long before the eyesores that people call “homes” were established.”

So do you live in an eyesore dwelling called a home? Ahhh reciting the Sierra Club approach to maintaining our national and state forest. Let it burn and cleanse the forest the way nature meant it to be. On Mount Diablo that might be an acceptable approach because it isn’t covered in overcrowded dense forest.

California and the nation face a forest health and wildfire crisis. Many forests, particularly those on public lands, have grown dangerously overcrowded due to a century of fire suppression and decades of restricted timber harvesting. The Sierra Club set out to stop clear cutting. But in their usual way they are over the top in restricting all harvesting of the forest. Restricting all management of our national treasures under the guise of environmental scrutiny is destroying them for centuries to come.

In California, 37 million acres – or roughly 48 percent of the state’s land base – face very high or catastrophic extreme fire threats. These threats back up to 1100 California communities.

Leaving the forest alone, keeping them exactly like they are and letting nature take its course more often than not, end up incinerating the entire forest and every living thing within them. Efforts to manage California’s forests and reduce fuel loads are blocked by appeals and lawsuits by environmental groups – despite the fact that humans have allowed unnatural fuel loads to accumulate.

The forests that you want to leave to nature are not natural, so the fires that burn them are not natural either. Such “hands-off” attitudes, often inspired by the myth of the pristine forest, lead to inaction that fosters the kind of catastrophic fire (what use to be a very rare case) that we see on TV every summer.

109 Tommy V August 25, 2010 at 2:06 PM

is morgan territory rd open again?

110 Pamela August 25, 2010 at 3:03 PM

I live in Curry Canyon, right at the entrance, across from Camp Four Paws. We have not had power since the initial explosion yesterday around 4pm. Thanks to the lack of wind, the fire has been moving up the mountain rather than toward us. Fire crews from all over the state have been coming and going all night and all day now. I wish I could stop every truck on the way out of the canyon to thank them for working so hard in this heat.

111 Atticus Thraxx August 25, 2010 at 3:11 PM

God Bless the CDF.

112 Feckin Irish Mouse August 25, 2010 at 3:28 PM

just send a few prayers their way…………….The joint effort between fire agencies is always a beautiful thing to see.
Atticus add to your blessings San Ramon Valley Fire, Consolidated Fire, Fremont Fire, Marin Fire, East Contra Costa Fire, and all the other agencies that were part of this joint effort.

113 EMSchick August 25, 2010 at 5:04 PM

Looks like there are at least 2 helicopters working on the fire again, after taking the morning off. I was hoping it was almost completely out by now, but apparently not.

And yes, this is a rural area, but it is by no means uninhabited. The news stations continue to report on this fire as if there are no homes that could potentially be threatened, which is absolutely not true. Many homes are located off the main road, which may lead people to believe that there are fewer residents out here than there actually are. Considering that Mt. Diablo hasn’t burned since 1977, and since cattle have not been allowed to graze on the mountain for many years now, the chances of a large wildfire out here are huge. If it is not attacked with force by the fire crews at the very beginning, we risk endangering many homes, and possibly lives.

Thank you to all of the firefighters that are out here working to put this out. Especially in this heat! I do not envy their job at all.

114 ulogoni August 25, 2010 at 5:12 PM

It’s posts like Buck Million’s that make you wonder how forest ecosystems ever survived before the mighty logger appeared on the scene. Old-growth forests and larger diameter trees are the most fire resistant, yet these are the same trees that logging companies pri$e and therefore target for removal. Go figure.

Fire suppression is indeed an issue, but blaming conservation organizations for recognizing a money making scheme under the shameful guise of fire suppression (oh wait), and moving to protect the most integral trees vital to the biotic communities is a misleading straw man argument.

Commercial logging can and has actually caused catastrophic wildfires. That’s what happens when you open up the canopy to carve roads through and remove trees, disturbing naturally moist microclimates. That’s what happens when you bring tons of heavy equipment in to compact the soil so water no longer percolates through but instead pounds the ground sending sediment down to choke the local watersheds. That’s what happens when you remove all those old trees and other barriers to erosion. This is but a sliver of it.

Did you have a specific case in mind?

115 Paul August 25, 2010 at 5:30 PM

I spoke to the Rangers office today and Mount Diablo will be back open tomorrow. They just closed it down today because of the heat and to re-evaluate everything.

116 Radar August 25, 2010 at 6:28 PM

When I was out in Curry Canyon yesterday, I coudln’t help noticing that there were quite a few homes in the area. More than I expected. Don’t know if Id want to live there if a fire starts closer to them. I also noticed that convicts were walking in to fight the fire. All those who fought the fire rock!

117 james August 25, 2010 at 7:17 PM


118 "Dept. of Corrections" August 25, 2010 at 8:45 PM

The trucks I saw going in said “Dept. of Corrections” – and I wondered whether they volunteer for the firefighting, or whether they are just assigned to it. Either way, it’s a hot, dirty, grueling job for everyone who does it, and I appreciate everyone’s efforts.

119 James August 25, 2010 at 10:00 PM

Well I went hiking anyway and thanks to those who gave answers. The conditions were fine other then it being really hot but i was well watered and sweated a few pounds off. I saw a helicopter fly over me also and they were probably like who is this crazy guy?

120 Buck Million August 26, 2010 at 12:45 AM

“Commercial logging can and has actually caused catastrophic wildfires. That’s what happens when you open up the canopy to carve roads through and remove trees, disturbing naturally moist microclimates.

Typical Sierra club BS. You know what? There is nothing natural about our forest today? THAT’s where your argument falls right off the table. 200 years ago the low intensity fires were the natural way the forest were cleaned of fuel. When forest density was around 70 trees an acre it allowed the old growth to stay healthy and fires never reached the crown of trees. Enter humans into the scene with a century of fire suppression these forest have over grown to 10 times that density by suppressing fire. Some places in the Tahoe basin up to 1000 trees an acre.

The Sierra club had good intentions and did the right thing to stop the clear cutting of old growth in the 70’s. But in typical fashion they didn’t know where to stop. Now they fight ALL management of the forest, all harvesting of one of our greatest renewable natural resources. And when a forest incinerates such as in Tahoe a few years ago they fight all attempts to go in and salvage the dead trees that still have some value if salvaged quickly. But no, we cant have that. THey might make a road. If that happens all will be lost in your precious battle to keep out evil lumber companies. So the trees lay rotting, releasing all that carbon back into the atmosphere, inviting insect infestation to spread to nearby forest. Have you seen Tahoe lately? Whole mountainsides brown with dead forest from the beetle infestations.

With forests unnaturally dense, trees have barely enough moisture to produce the sap needed to keep out bark beetles even in relatively wet years. They cannot resist attack during dry years.

Harvesting on California’s public forest lands has dropped nearly 90 percent since 1990. We once exported lumber to others. Now California imports 75 % of the lumber we use.

The Sierra Club is not capable of finding a middle ground to allow man to manage our forest. Their policy is straight forward. Keep man out of the forest. Let fire take its natural course and all will be good. The problem with this is our natural treasures are NOT being cleansed with fire but incinerated in catastrophic firestorms. You don’t need to listen to me, just turn on your TV and witness it yourself. Another 3-5 million acres will be turned into moonscapes this year and the Sierra Club will be right there making sure no ones attempts cleaning them up.

The Angora fire in Tahoe should have been a wake up call. That was just the tip of the iceberg. Tahoe is in for a much larger disaster than that fire. Mark my words, Tahoe hasn’t seen nothing yet.

When you see a fire on TV and the fire is in the treetops, the crown of trees, everything under those trees are being burned alive. And you can bet your bottom dollar that the Sierra Club at some point over the last 30 years fought to allow man into that forest to manage it.

121 Buck Million August 26, 2010 at 12:51 AM

“That’s what happens when you bring tons of heavy equipment in to compact the soil so water no longer percolates through but instead pounds the ground sending sediment down to choke the local watersheds. That’s what happens when you remove all those old trees and other barriers to erosion. This is but a sliver of it.

Who said anything about removing all the old trees. Everything is all or nothing with you. What happens when a forest incinerates? EVERYTHING washes down the hill. What’s left? Scorched soil incapable of growing anything for a long time.

122 ulogoni August 26, 2010 at 11:50 AM


If there are expansions of bark beetle outbreaks it would be due to a changing climate, not due to a decline in logging. Cold winters are the ultimate predator of these beetles. The warmer temperatures are not only allowing more to survive, but are also allowing populations to reach trees at higher elevations. Nothing short of reducing our emissions could even hope to stop that.

You would have to remove 50-80% of the trees to effectively reduce the impact of these beetles. Which is on par with the destruction of the outbreaks in the first place. That’s asinine. I’d fight any company tooth and nail that would first have to make an assumption about which particular stand is going to be hit so they can hit it first.

Logging carries with it a lot of environmental impacts without significantly influencing fire spread. Dead trees are important to forest ecology. Vital even. 45% of birds in North America depend on snags, and two thirds of all wildlife use dead trees.

The following is from this study: Recent Forest Insect Outbreaks and Fire Risk in Colorado Forests: A Brief Synthesis of Relevant Research for a good overview of beetle ecology and relationship to wildfire: http://spot.colorado.edu/~schoenna/images/RommeEtAl2006CFRI%20.pdf

“There is no evidence to support the idea that current levels of bark beetle or defoliator activity are unnaturally high. Similar outbreaks have occurred in the past. …Although it is widely believed that insect outbreaks set the stage for severe forest fires, the few scientific studies that support this idea report a very small effect, and other studies have found no relationship between insect outbreaks and subsequent fire activity… bark beetle outbreaks actually may reduce fire risk in some lodgepole pine forests once the dead needles fall from the trees.” – Romme et al.

You mentioned: Enter humans into the scene with a century of fire suppression these forest have over grown to 10 times that density by suppressing fire.

This is a poignant time to be speaking of this. As it was this very month, 100 years ago that the Great Fire of 1910 largely fueled these supression campaigns. Yes, the largest fire in U.S. history happened before all of this madness. As for density, it depends. Forests at higher elevations are naturally dense and there has not been significant changes to this due to fire suppression.

More great information in this powerpoint presentation by George Wuerthner:


“As far as community protection is concerned, it is far more cost effective to reduce flammability of homes than to attempt to reduce the flammability of forests. Focus fire risk reduction in and near homes, not out in the backcountry.”

I’m not with the Sierra Club, by the way.

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