Thanks to alert citizens and a prompt response by Berkeley firefighters, a Tilden Park hills fire was extinguished before it could spread Tuesday night.
Deputy Fire Chief David P. Orth said a Park Hills resident reported a strange flash in the hills at 9:21 p.m., and, using binoculars, firefighters were able to spot a small glow near the ridge top.
An engine searching the area spotted the scene, which firefighters were able to reach after a third-of-a-mile hike through the brush.
They found a ground fire spreading slowly beneath a mantle of pines.
Meanwhile, crews from the California Division of Forestry (CDF), the Moraga-Orinda Fire Department and the Oakland fire departments were responding.
The fire, which ignited some of the trees, was quickly contained, but CDF crews—including a contingent of prisoners trained in firefighting—remained on the scene along with East Bay Regional Parks District firefighters after the municipal departments left about 1:30 a.m.
Orth said the blaze, which consumed about an acre, was apparently ignited by a downed power line discovered as crews were battling the blaze.