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10-acre wildfire burning near UC Berkeley triggers voluntary campus evacuations

A 10-acre wildfire that burned in the hills east of UC Berkeley on Wednesday afternoon triggered road closures and voluntary evacuations for some campus buildings, officials said.

Shortly after 3 p.m., University of California police recommended evacuations of the Lawrence Hall of Science, the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute and the Space Sciences Laboratory.

About 5:45 p.m., firefighters contained the flames and normal campus operations resumed, police said. Fire crews planned to stay on scene overnight.

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The blaze, which started about 1 p.m., drew a response of between 150 to 200 firefighters, as well as helicopters dropping loads of water from a nearby reservoir.

“The challenges we’re having right now are just steep terrain and heavy timber, just large trees that are holding a lot of heat,” said Oakland Fire Deputy Chief Melinda Drayton.

Utility officials had planned to shut off power on campus, but by 6 p.m., police said the move was not necessary.

“PG&E has inspected the fire-impacted power lines and issued the all-clear,” police said in an alert. “No campus power outage will be required.”

Grizzly Peak Boulevard was closed between Centennial Drive and South Park Drive.

Campers at Tilden Regional Park were taken home on regular bus routes, city officials said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com

Twitter: @AleneTchek

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UPDATES:

9 p.m.: This story was updated with additional details.

This story was originally published at 4:50 p.m.


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