Firefighters limited a vegetation fire to under 1 acre after it ignited Saturday in Alamo due to a problematic weed trimmer being used in dry and windy conditions during a Red Flag Warning day, according to fire officials.
The situation developed just before noon on Biltmore Drive, not far from the Round Hill Country Club golf course, on private land that is designated in the state responsibility area for wildfire reasons, according to Ron Marley, emergency preparedness coordinator for the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District.
A contractor hired by the property owner was cutting back weeds and grass when their weed eater began to malfunction and caught fire itself while melting plastic onto the vegetation, according to Marley. Weed abatement should not have been occurring under the Red Flag conditions Saturday.
SRVFPD and Cal Fire crews responded to the area and worked successfully to contain the fire at 0.76 acres, according to Marley.
The incident should serve as a reminder to only conduct weed-trimming activities under appropriate weather conditions, according to Marley. "We want that done (weed abatement), but we have to do that responsibly," he told DanvilleSanRamon.com.
During this time of year, any weed abatement work should generally be conducted between dawn and 10 a.m.; favorable cool and damp weather conditions might occasionally allow that to be safely extended to 11 a.m. to noon, according to Marley.
But such activities should never occur on mornings when a Red Flag Warning is confirmed or potential, he said. People should also avoid during days with high winds and low humidity for fire-safety reasons.
Additionally, Saturday's fire is an example about why it's important to properly maintain weed trimmers and mowers, as well as keep a water-based fire extinguisher nearby when doing weed abatement, according to Marley.
SRVFPD requires mandatory seasonal weed abatement to be completed by May 31, with inspections to begin on June 1, Marley said.