>>>>Friday night’s lightning-sparked fire on Mt. Diablo brought back many bad memories for those who were around 34-years-ago, because on August 2, 1977, after two years of drought and a day of horrible lightning, a fire started on Mt. Diablo that would end with devistating results.
Over 6,000 acres burned in a matter of days, and the entire North side of the mountain was blackened. 700 firefighters battled the blazes, along with a dozen cargo planes.
The first lightning strikes hit above the quarries on Mt. Zion, then the second bolt hit Twin Peaks, according to Bob Doyle, one of the founders of Save Mt. Diablo.
His group also had this to say in 2002, during a special write-up on the fire….
Altogether, the ‘77 fire burned to the summit, North Peak, Russelmann, into Perkins Canyon, into Ginochio above Walnut Creek, and was stopped at Juniper Camp. The real core was Mitchell, Back and Donner Canyons.
The year after, we had the most amazing display of flowers I had ever seen—it sterilized the soil in places and nothing grew, but pockets of fire poppy and golden eardrops were great. Some slopes were covered with millions of them. All the annual flowers were incredible, but as you went upslope, a lot of the east face of Eagle and Twin Peaks had nothing for several years.
Doyle says this wasn’t the only devistating fire on Mt. Diablo….
There have been more than a hundred fires on Diablo since 1891, when record keeping began. 1977’s fire was the second largest, after a five day fire July 3-7, 1931 which began in Blackhawk and eventually charred 25,000 acres. That fire burned the mountain’s south side. Three weeks later the north side burned.
Thanks to Seth Adams with Save Mount Diablo for the information, and to Bill Sattler & his family for the great photos.