6-Alarm Grass Fire in Pacifica Prompts Evacuations

A growing grass fire in a Pacifica canyon early Monday morning prompted evacuations and kept several people shut away in their homes as firefighters battled the blaze.

But by 7:30 a.m., firefighters had the five-acre grass fire - which quickly escalated to six alarms - contained, and residents who were allowed back into their homes, officials said.

The fire broke out about 3:30 a.m. in the 1100 block of Fasler Avenue, and created a dramatic scene for the small beachside city in between San Francisco and Half Moon Bay.

Clyde Preston of the North County Fire Authority said as of 6:30 a.m. about 90 people had been evacuated as a precautionary measure and being helped at the Pacifica Community Center. Residents were allowed back to their homes by 8:15 a.m.

The winds and steep terrain, he said, were making the vegetation fire challenging to fight. About 60 firefighters were working to quell the flames, which were pushing toward the ocean.

Mike Dulay was woken up by authorities about 5 a.m. and scrambled to get his wife, kids and animals out of the house to safety. He said he's lived in this area for 23 years and neve seen a wildfire burn on this particular ridge. He noted how thick the brush and poison oak is in this canyon, and sympathized with the firefighters who had a difficult fight ahead of them.

Donna Metcalf and Randall Cooper took photos of the fire, and said they were stuck in their house for at least a couple of hours as police had blocked off their street.

NBC Bay Area's chopper flew overhead, tracking the bright orange flames consuming foliage and licking the sky.

Cal Fire recommends homeowners in fire-prone areas select fire-resistant plants and materials.

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