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Breaking: Concord evacuations as 260-acre fire nears homes

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A multi-alarm vegetation fire broke out just after 3 p.m. Friday, June 29th in Concord off Ygnacio Valley Road. Evacuations were ordered for the Crystyl Ranch and Montecito neighborhoods and the eastbound lanes of Ygnacio Valley Road were closed to commute traffic. The last update, approximately 6:42 p.m. from Contra Costa Fire indicate that the fire has consumed approximately 260 acres of dry hillside.

Site of fire origin off Ygnacio Valley Road in Concord, Calif. June 29, 2018. Flames quickly moved toward Crystyl Ranch Road with winds reaching 14 mph. Photo by Nik Wojcik

Concord resident Gary Inmen lives in the Walnut Country Crossings just across Ygnacio Valley Road from the site of the fire. Inmen was not worried that it would reach his home even as flames burned past the fire break and to the edge of Crystyl Ranch Road as winds reached 14 mph. If the fire were to jump the Crystyl Ranch Road, it would be fueled by another dry hillside dangerously close to the Cal State East Bay campus.

Fire burned 175 acres off Ygnacio Valley Road in Concord, Calif. with 50 percent containment by 5:30 p.m. June 29, 2018. Photo by Nik Wojcik

Helicopters were filling water at the Newhall Park lake to help tame the burn, but eventually airplanes were brought in and can be seen flying in and out of the smoke. CCC Firefighters say they have the blaze 50 percent contained but evacuations have not yet been lifted and first responder activity is still heightened in area.

747 firefighter planes brought in to help tame Ygnacio Road fire in Concord, Calif. June 29, 2018. Photo by Nik Wojcik

Helicopters refilled at lake in Newhall Park to fight fire off Ygnacio Valley Road in Concord, Calif. June 29, 2018. Photo by Nik Wojcik

Ian Maslen was out for a ride when he noticed the smoke and walked to the top of the hill over Newhall Park for a better view. Maslen was able to capture a video of the helicopter refueling from the community park lake below.

Red Cross volunteers are mobilizing to assist the evacuated residents. This story is in progress and we’ll bring you updates as we learn more.

Residents gather on hill above Newhall Park to watch fire off Ygnacio Valley Road in Concord, Calif. June 29, 2018. Photo by Nik Wojcik

Update, 7:35 p.m.

Evacuation centers have been set up at Clayton Valley High School at 1101 Alberta Way and Centre Concord (5298 Clayton Road). We’ve also been informed that Sri Guru Ravidass Temple in Pittsburg has opened their doors to Concord evacuees and will provide shelter, food (vegetarian) and blankets at 2150 Crestview Drive in Pittsburg. Contact Ramesh Chander at 925-366-3618 for further information or assistance.

According to Nextdoor.com, there are approximately 1109 residents in the Crystyl Ranch development and another 462 in the Montecito area, which have both been evacuated.

Update, 8:16 p.m.

NBC Bay Area reports that Contra Costa Fire Department believes a truck with “mechanical issues” backfired and caused sparks, which lit the dry brush. The wind has dropped from 14 to 9 mph, giving firefighters a small break. However, there have been no further updates from Contra Costa Fire regarding acreage burned or containment achieved.

Update, 10:014 p.m.

Contra Costa Fire posted an update to their Twitter feed at 9:50 p.m. stating that the fire is 85 percent contained with only eight more acres destroyed since their update hours earlier. At 10:08 p.m., they announced that evacuations had been lifted and all roads are open.

Correction: A previous version of this article inadvertently misspelled Crystyl Ranch as Crystal Ranch.

 

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Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Journalist, editor, student, single mom to a pack of wolves, foodie, music lover, resident smart ass, and champion of vulgarity and human kindness.