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Evacuation orders lifted in San Mateo County fires; thousands lose power

Smoke from a wildfire billows behind buildings in San Mateo County.
Firefighters responded to a fire at Edgewood Road and Crestview Drive in San Mateo County.
(California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection)

Evacuation orders were lifted Tuesday evening after a pair of brush fires broke out in San Mateo County, officials said, as power outages continued to affect thousands of residents in the area.

The blazes were reported just before 2:30 p.m., both near Redwood City and Woodside.

One fire was contained by 4 p.m. at a few acres, officials said. The other incident— named the Edgewood fire — was still burning, the San Mateo-Santa Cruz unit of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said on Twitter.

Evacuation orders were issued around 2:45 p.m. for residential areas around Edgewood County Park, east of the 280 Freeway, andlater expanded into the park. By 8:15 p.m., Cal Fire said, all evacuation orders had been downgraded to voluntary warnings, and all previous warnings had been lifted completely.

As of shortly before 9 p.m., according to Cal Fire, the Edgewood fire was 20 acres and 5% contained.

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Fire crews, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. workers and sheriff’s deputies will remain on scene throughout the night, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office said.

San Mateo County Deputy Fire Chief Jonathan Cox, speaking at a media briefing earlier Tuesday, said the fire was burning toward the north and northwest.

“We are battling some hot temperatures right now, but luckily we don’t have wind that is really challenging us,” Cox said. “But we do anticipate this heat to hold through the night, which will require us to stay out here until we do get some containment.”

The Northern California utility said its fire safety settings turn off power to a circuit “within one-tenth of a second” of a fault, such as a tree branch falling onto a line.

Cox said one firefighter was injured and taken to Stanford Medical Center by ambulance. The firefighter’s condition was not known.

“What this does show us is we have extremely dry fuel,” Cox said. “We’re talking about the middle of June right now, and we’re seeing fire behavior that’s weeks ahead of where we typically are.”

The fires came as a heat wave made its way through the Bay Area on Tuesday, the first day of summer, with San Francisco recording temperatures in the 90s.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. reported a power outage affecting more than 5,000 customers in the immediate fire area. According to the utility company, the outage began around 2:20 p.m.; thousands were still without power at 9 p.m.

Cox said a PG&E substation was threatened by the fire, and crews were there to protect it.

The cause of the fire was under investigation, officials said.


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