Firefighters Battle Fire Near Fish Ranch Exit Off Highway 24

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday September 29, 2009 - 05:43:00 PM

Firefighters from the East Bay Regional Park District and four other state and local agencies battled a fire near the Fish Ranch Road exit off Highway 24 Tuesday afternoon, according to park district officials. 

A spokesperson for the park district fire department said that the fire had been completely contained by 5:36 p.m. He said that there had been no damage to any property except for some grass and bush. Park district officials are investigating the cause of the fire. 

East Bay Regional Park District spokesperson Shelly Lewis said the park district received a call from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection at 3:09 p.m. which reported that “there was a fire at Fish Ranch Road outside Sibley Park that burned into Sibley.” 

Shelly said that the fire had spread to 30 acres. Sibley Park was evacuated, but residences were not evacuated, she said. 

Shelly said a total of five agencies—the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Moraga-Orinda Fire Department, Contra Costa Fire Department, Oakland Fire Department and the East Bay Regional Park District—had helped to douse the flames. About 30 to 50 firefighters were present at the scene. 

Berkeley Fire Department Chief Gil Dong told the Planet that Berkeley firefighters had not been involved in efforts to control the fire because it had taken place outside their jurisdiction. 

Dong said the fire had started in Moraga-Orinda. Eyewitnesses reported around 4 p.m. that Tunnel Road near Claremont was closed immediately after turning onto Alvarado, a route used by many UC Berkeley employees on their way back home. 

Some afternoon commuters said traffic was a mess on upper Ashby Avenue because of the fire and reported seeing helicopters flying over the Oakland-Berkeley hills.