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Fire near Mt. Diablo burns 800 acres, evacuations ordered

Original post made on Sep 9, 2013

A grass fire in the Clayton area of Contra Costa County has grown to 800 acres and remains only around 10 percent contained as of about 7:25 p.m. Residents in parts of Clayton in Contra Costa County have been ordered to evacuate immediately as firefighters battle the blaze.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, September 8, 2013, 5:44 PM

Comments (17)

Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Sep 9, 2013 at 8:18 am

I was sad to see it is still burning this morning, but the area is rough terrain for firefighters to get into.
All the more reason why development needs to stop on the flanks of Diablo.

Posted by American
a resident of Danville
on Sep 9, 2013 at 9:15 am

Derek, I agree with you 100%.

Posted by public safety first
a resident of Danville
on Sep 9, 2013 at 9:29 am

Excellent point, Derek. But where there is money to made by developers, local governments, and other special interests, the public good takes last place.

Case in point: the recently approved SummerHill Homes 69+ home development in the Diablo Road/Blackhawk Road corridor, very near the Mt. Diablo State Park southern entrance. In the EIR for that project, the Danville Town Council refused to require a thorough assessment of emergency evacuation and emergency response times despite the pleas of local residents. Just last year there was a fire that began on Mt. Diablo Scenic Blvd. and nearly jumped the road into Mt. Diablo State Park, where it would have produced a fire very similar to the one that is burning out of control today. Flames from the current fire are now visible from the hilltop in the existing Magee Ranch development off Blackhawk Road.

SOS-Danville is now suing the Danville Town Council regarding its legally insufficient EIR, and the Council's failure to provide for the legally-required public vote on the SummerHill project.

Posted by Julia
a resident of Alamo
on Sep 9, 2013 at 11:32 am

Just for your information folks at 11:00am the flames have come over to the west side of the mountain. As you know I live in Alamo and now we can see the flames...not a pretty site.

I see no planes flying over the fire area. There is a large group of trees coming down the mountain...if it get to those trees the fire will move fast.

This is interesting how it moved so fast out of control. A CHP officer was on the scene when it started.

I just heard over 1500 acres are involved. From my bedroom windows I saw the bright orange glow all last night. Tonight I am assuming I will see flames all night.

Stay safe Julia Pardini from Alamo

Posted by Derek
a resident of Danville
on Sep 9, 2013 at 12:56 pm

@ public safety first -
Summerhill is exactly what I was thinking of, and I am hoping that the attorney for S.O.S. succeeds.
Yesterday on the news around 6:15pm, they said 450 acres. If it has already grown beyond 1,500 acres as Julia said, it means it's really out of control. I do notice a lot of eucalyptus trees (along with the now-very-dry oaks) on the west side of Diablo, and those are perfect, hot-burning trees to spread a wildfire.
We have been fortunate since the time of Indians living in the valley that our west hills rarely have lightning. They would look very different if this was not the case. We can only hope that no one plays with matches.

Posted by Tom Cushing
a resident of Alamo
on Sep 9, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Here's a live cam view: Web Link

Posted by Ryan del Carro
a resident of Danville
on Sep 9, 2013 at 9:08 pm

The south Tahoe fire a few yrs back was directly related to the ignorance of the environMENTAL groups who would not allow brush clearing-----

Posted by Ryan del Carro
a resident of Danville
on Sep 9, 2013 at 9:09 pm

The south Tahoe fire a few yrs back was directly related to the ignorance of the environMENTAL groups who would not allow brush clearing-----

Posted by JT
a resident of Danville
on Sep 10, 2013 at 8:52 am

@Ryandelnocaro... While you bad mouth environmentalists, perhaps you should open your eyes to your own ignorance and breathe in the cleaner air, the cleaner water, the better foods, the less contaminated watersheds, the open spaces around you, the safer cars, the safer freeways, the safer air traffic system, the list goes on and on with the improvements that have been hard fought victories for consumers like you against commercial and capitalist interests in the quest to make a profit for a handful few.

But perhaps you don't want to do that. In that case then perhaps you may want to experiment and start to run your car exhaust into your house for a few minutes per day, just to get your own smog. How about contaminating your own water tank with known carcinogens and other dangerous pathogens and perhaps you could spray some Round-Up on your vegetables as they enter the house, or sprinkle some e.coli bacteria on the meat, fish, and vegetables you buy or raise.

Sounds idiotic right? Well that is exactly what people sound like when they write off environmentalists, like you and many others do.

Posted by Julia
a resident of Alamo
on Sep 10, 2013 at 9:06 am

JT you are brain dead...Ryan Del Carro is correct.

JT wake up.

Julia Pardini from Alamo

Posted by Jose
a resident of Danville
on Sep 10, 2013 at 11:20 am

Some thoughts....

@publicsafetyfirst/@Derek-stop using an EIR as a crutch and say what's really going on. I'd have more respect if you just came out and said you didn't want to deal with traffic on your streets or near your homes because it might add on another 5 min to your commute/morning activities. The house/area you live in was likely scrutinized at some point for its developmental impact on the area. Why is Summerhill different? The whining has to stop.

I'll bet most people out there don't even know what the real purpose of an EIR is to begin with. It is only used now to try and halt projects. What does development of the rolling brown hills really impact? Sign lines? Is the land providing another useful purpose...agriculture? "open space"? I typically don't see people walking around on the hills...except on the fire roads and cuts made each spring/summer. Are you worried about smog? You take more risk putting on a dry-cleaned shirt/sweater than you do breathing in air after a few cars go by. Not all development is a bad thing. How else would you get your Starbucks or frozen yogurt.

@JT-there is a huge difference between capitalist looking to make a buck and responsible land management. Brush clearing can be done very easily, and very responsibly with out hurting our beloved spotted frogs or other critters. Calm down.

Now I have no problem if you want to live out near the beautiful and scenic wilderness...but you take on responsibilities and risk with that choice...whether it be flood zones, earthquake areas, dense brush/forest at risk of fire. If people want to live on the flanks of Diablo, let them.

I am tired of hearing/reading all the BS that people throw around and complaining people do because something is an inconvenience. I hate it when people claim something is threatening their "well being" because a new house might block part of their view of a brown hill. I wish this country would amend our legal system to not allow meaningless lawsuits. Everybody feels entitled all the time and the money grabbing going on is sad. Let's move to more accountability and not have to sue a restaurant because your hot coffee was too hot, or because you were too stupid to walk around the wet floor sign and slipped on your butt and hurt your elbow.

Well, that went off topic....but who cares...this is Danville Express.

Posted by Xinfan
a resident of Danville
on Sep 10, 2013 at 11:40 am

There is direct causation between man made global warming and increase in intensity and frequency of wild fires. We need more clean energy SOON!

Posted by Jose
a resident of Danville
on Sep 11, 2013 at 8:48 am

Good job making assumptions not in evidence, and extra kudos for making a donkey of yourself in public.
I live in the Paraiso/Everett area, not even close to Mt. Diablo. And my office is just on the other side of the freeway, so unless it's raining or very hot, I ride my bike. Diablo Road traffic has no impact on me whatsoever, and I don't even go in every day.
Your ignorance as to the purpose of environmental impact statements is equally astounding. Should I make the obvious (and possibly true) assumption that you spend your days parked in front of a television listening to Sean Hannity? That hypothesis certainly makes more sense than any of yours.
Sometimes Jose, open space is not a means to an end. It simply "is". Are you okay with the hideous high rise (a.k.a. KB Homes) next to 680 that former city council members and former & current city planners allowed? If so, I think you would be content in one of the many communities that encourage this type of development. Maybe Albany, San Leandro, or Emeryville would be to your liking. Perhaps San Jose? I am sure all of these places would welcome your views with open arms, and let's face it Jose - real estate in Danville is hot. Time's a-wasting son. Get those for-sale signs up.
Speaking of off-topic, great job on that as well.

Posted by Jose
a resident of Danville
on Sep 11, 2013 at 12:26 pm

I'm not sure who responded to my initial comments above...but I think you may have had a bit too much caffine. Take a deep breath. You are WAY off base in your assumptions about fact, you couldn't be more wrong....I have never seen Hannity.

Listen, I'm not trying to say all development is great. I'm also not trying to say that all "open space" needs to be preserved to the highest degree. There is balance and it can be easily achieved.

An EIR is used for gathering information when considering a new project. I feel that because it is so broad...some people tend to use it improperly, cherry picking the items in the report which best suit their needs. This never ends well and it turns into a real mess. That's both sides...those for a development (i.e. project will have no affect on stormwater discharge quality, traffic, endangered species, etc) as well as those against a development (i.e. there is one spotted frog on that 40 acre parcel which we need to protect, more traffic on cut-through streets will cause air quality to degrade, etc). That is not what these reports are designed to do. An EIR is designed to gather information period. They are frequently influenced by political and social pressure. In addition, even if an EIR identifies a negative outcome on a project, projects can still proceed. Some folks think that EIRs are the end-all/be-all of a project. Quite frankly, I personally wish they would go away. That is coming from someone who works in environmental consulting.

I am just tired of always hearing from one group any time there is a story about change in Danville (or even a fire on Mt Diablo). All we hear is the complaining about Summerhill and how our town officials are corrupt, etc. Much of the complaining is based on personal agenda (although the folks complaining will never admit to that on a local community chat forum) and not on ALL the facts. I guess I'm compaining about the complaining...shame on me :) If Summerhill is too much for you, the "real estate in Danville is hot"...find another location to live in town. I'm sure there are plenty of folks lining up to move to our great town...Summerhill or not. I chose Danville for many reasons...but it wasn't a slam dunk. There were compromises to make by me and my family.

Living in Danville does not entitle anyone to anything...other than owning property in Danville. Sure you get to vote in town...and send your kids to a decent school system...but you don't get to have it your way...all the time. I wish people would remember that. Perspective.

Posted by activist
a resident of Danville
on Sep 11, 2013 at 12:40 pm

@Jose: You obviously were not at the Planning Commissions hearings or the Town Council hearing regarding the SummerHill project. Nor I would wager have you read the EIR, nor have you commented on it during the comment period. Unless you did those things, please do not speculate about the legality of the EIR prepared. Moreover, you don't even mention the fact that Danville voters were denied their Measure S right to vote on whether the project went forward after the Council approved it. Objecting to a legally insufficient EIR and illegal denial of a public vote is not "whining". Or you the type that would "kill the messenger" that bursts your fool's paradise bubble?

Posted by Jose
a resident of Danville
on Sep 11, 2013 at 2:17 pm

@activist-I have read the EIR...along with about 100 other similar EIR reports. As I mentioned earlier, the reports are what they are...a bunch of information which people pull out what they want to see...or question the "legality" if there is something they believe is missing. It is a "tool" to make decisions. It is not prepared to make the decisions themselves. There is nothing "legally insufficient" with any EIR.

For the sake of a healthy discussion, what is your primary concern with Summerhill? Traffic? Air? Frogs? (That is not meant to be would be surprised at how some folks answer that question).

I don't believe that 70 new homes in Summerhill is going gridlock that corridor any more than it already is. It is a total mess to begin with and THAT should be the focus with the town...not the development of the new homes. Signalize or alter the layout of those intersections, etc. [BTW, I don't want to hear about the bicycling hazards on that road and how Summerhill will make it more dangerous for people on bikes. Anyone biking on that roadway is insane to begin with. This town has a million roads with bike lanes. Use those or find a place to park in the road up to Diablo. You ride a bike (with no established bike lanes) on a windy road with blind are asking for trouble...regardless if you "share the road"...that's another discussion all together.]

I am not here to just argue with you...nor do I completely disagree with some of the problems you bring up. I'm bringing to light that the arguements out there against this project are just as flawed as those for the project. People don't like to hear that.

Measure S is indeed flawed because it does have loopholes. If it did not, we'd not be having this conversation and Summerhill would be truly illegal. If you can get a judge/court to side with you, then I'd be fine with it and accept it. But as written, there is interpretation, manipulation, and loopholes to hang hats on.

Devil is in the details.

Posted by Karen
a resident of Danville
on Sep 11, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Development does not cause fires. If so, I would say take out Diablo & make way for hopefully a more open-minded population in the new Magee Ranch. Diablo folks (SOS Danville) got theirs and now they want to put up the pearlier gates and keep everyone else out. Using this fire as a demonstration of the need to reduce development is foolish. The San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District gave input on the emergency access and response times for Magee Ranch. They had no concerns. They use fire trails and not always Diablo Road. Development did not cause the Mt. Diablo fire. Period.

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