Morgan fire in Mt. Diablo State Park now 45% contained

A bulldozer is used to create a fire break to help contain the Morgan fire in Contra Costa County.
(Jose Carlos Fajardo / Associated Press)
<i>This post has been corrected. See note at the bottom for details.</i>

Firefighters have made significant progress on a wildfire raging in Mt. Diablo State Park in Northern California, officials said Tuesday.

The estimated burn area of the Morgan fire was reduced to 3,243 acres overnight Monday as a result of better mapping, and containment increased from 20% to 45%, said California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokesman Todd Williams. Cooler weather with more coastal influence allowed crews to make progress on the blaze Monday night.

The day ahead is looking good, with the cooler conditions expected to allow crews to make more progress, Williams said.

Two air tankers and three water-dropping helicopters and about 700 firefighters were battling the blaze Tuesday, and 75 structures remain threatened, Cal Fire said.

The wildfire, which was first reported shortly after 1 p.m. Sunday, is burning dry, steep terrain that has also fueled the rapid spread of other wildfires this year, most notably the Rim fire near Yosemite National Park.


“The fire behavior this season, is pretty extraordinary because the fuel beds are so dry,” said Cal Fire spokesman Steve Kaufmann.

The fire threatened Pacific Gas & Electric Co. electrical transmission lines as well as communications infrastructure on Mt. Diablo and historical buildings at the summit, Cal Fire said.

Evacuations remained in place for Oak Hill Lane, Curry Canyon and Curry Point. Only a few residents had trickled in to a shelter set up at Clayton Community Library in Clayton on Monday, but the facility was ordered to remain open for two more nights, said Jim Mallory, a Red Cross spokesman at the site.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation.

[For the Record, 10:16 a.m. PDT Sept. 10: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said the fire had grown in size. In fact, more accurate mapping reduced the total estimated acreage.]


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