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Morgan Fire Update: Acreage Shrinks, Containment Grows

| September 11, 2013
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Mount Diablo burns in image taken Sunday evening, the first evening of the Morgan fire. (Photo courtesy of Karl Frankowski, @karlfrankowski)

Mount Diablo burns in image taken Sunday evening, the first evening of the Morgan fire. (Photo courtesy of Karl Frankowski, @karlfrankowski)

Update 10 a.m. Wednesday: Cal Fire updated its acreage and containment estimates this morning. The agency now says the fire has burned 3,133 acres (that’s down from estimates of 3,700 acres Monday evening and 3,243 acres Tuesday) and is 70 percent contained.

Previous post (6 p.m. Tuesday): In a sign of the dramatic apparent progress made in the fight against the Morgan Fire east of Mount Diablo, Cal Fire says all evacuation orders have been lifted as of 6 p.m. tonight. About 100 residents of ranches and homes were ordered to leave Sunday evening as the fire advanced through the hilly terrain southeast of Clayton. Officials say the fire has burned across 3,243 acres, the same as reported early this morning. They report the fire is 60 percent contained compared to 45 percent this morning.

And here’s another sign that things have changed on the fire front: a photo tweeted by CBS San Francisco reporter Cate Caguiran. You might ask yourself: Where’s all the fire and smoke we saw yesterday? One possible factor: Shifting winds last night pushed the fire back into areas that burned Sunday night and early Monday.

Earlier post:

Cal Fire is reporting that crews have made significant progress overnight in containing the wildfire burning on and around Mount Diablo. Officials downsized their estimate of acreage burned to 3,243 acres and say the blaze, which started Sunday afternoon in an area of ranches and homes near Morgan Territory Road southeast of Clayton, is now 45 percent contained.

Cooler, more humid weather overnight aided firefighters, who are busy this morning building new containment lines on the northeastern and western edges of the blaze. Cal Fire says 11 helicopters will be working on the fire today.

But the challenge isn’t over. Officials say they’re diverting some resources from the Mount Diablo blaze to fight the Clover Fire, a 7,400-acre blaze near Redding (Shasta County). That fire started Monday afternoon. It has destroyed 80 structures and threatens 300 more.

According to Cal Fire, the Clover Fire “continues to move in a southwest direction and has potential to grow due to north winds and low humidity recovery. Structures in the area continue to be threatened and evacuations are in effect. Transmission and distribution power lines are at continued risk and the Clear Creek Water District Pump Station was damaged.”

The Clover Fire is reported to be about 40 percent contained.

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Category: Environment

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About the Author ()

Dan Brekke has worked in media ever since Nixon's first term, when newspapers were still using hot type. He had moved on to online news by the time Bill Clinton met Monica Lewinsky. He's been at KQED since 2007, is an enthusiastic practitioner of radio and online journalism and will talk to you about absolutely anything. Reach Dan Brekke at dbrekke@kqed.org.
  • Steven Kennedy

    That’s a great aerial photo of Mt Diablo. Now that the military industrial complex has gold plated the vegetation management, would someone please identify the 300 acres (one percent) of the land that was prepped for the inevitable wildfire by hand thinning and winter time pile burning. Or does pile burning invite weed infestations, create too much smoke and aggravate asthma? Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Why can’t we loosen our conceptual straight jackets and let go of the tiger’s tail? We can do better next time and we should.