A brush fire in Pittsburg early Friday morning that prompted many nearby residents to evacuate their homes was caused by fireworks, according to the Contra Costa County Fire District.
Now, fire authorities and residents alike are worried Fourth of July celebrations will cause extreme damage to the area.
"Do not use fireworks, they are illegal, they pose an extreme danger to the community," Contra Costa County fire officials said at a press conference Wednesday detailing how the fire in Pittsburg unfolded.
Fire crews were able to contain the blaze to 120 acres and keep it from spreading to nearby homes on Jacqueline Drive. The fire was first reported just before 2 a.m. and 100% contained by 7:30 a.m., fire officials said.
Con Fire initially reported the size of the blaze at 200 acres but updated that estimate later Friday morning.
Forward progress was stopped at about 5 a.m., but fire crews continued working to contain the flames and protect homes, Con Fire said. Damage was limited to a couple of fence lines, and no injures were reported, Con Fire said.
Con Fire officials said the mandatory evacuation executed by Pittsburg Police and the Contra Costa Sheriff's Office, was Con Fire's first significant use of the new Zonehaven digital evacuation tool (county residents can find out more by going to www.cwsalerts.com and clicking on the "Know Your Zone" tab at the top of the page).
None of this offers enough comfort for those living near the burn zone.
"Come on guys, think twice, please," said Pittsburg resident George Acevedo. "With these conditions right now everything is so dry. I'm sure they want to celebrate but there are other places."
Contra Costa Fire officials said during last year's Fourth of July celebrations, they fought a 100 fires and they don't want to see that happen again.
"Its been proven, we’ve seen time and time again this year that the fires are quickly getting very large and out of control," said Contra Costa Fire's Chris Bachmann.
The fire department is all too familiar with the dangers posed by these kind of fires.
In May of 2021, a single firework sparked a blaze in Antioch that gutted eight apartments and displaced 40 people.
In 2018, an Antioch man was maimed while trying to handle what he thought was a safe and sane firework.
Contra Costa County last year strengthened the penalties for using fireworks, including rules that will hold property owners liable for violations.
Con Fire stresses the danger of fireworks and the value of homeowners preparing their properties with weed abatement and defensible space creation.
Investigators are still looking for the person or people responsible.
Bay City News contributed to this report.