San Francisco

Three Vegetation Fires, Spanning Nearly 250 Acres in Contra Costa County, Being Investigated as Suspicious

A National Weather Service heat advisory is in effect across much of the Bay Area through 9 p.m. Saturday

Fire officials on Saturday are investigating three vegetation fires, spanning nearly 250 acres near Brentwood, as suspicious.

The early morning fires in and around Contra Costa County's Round Valley Regional Park were collectively named the Deer Complex Fire.

Cal Fire on Saturday battled three vegetation fires, spanning more than 200 acres near Round Valley Regional Park, which prompted the evacuation of roughly 50 homes near Brentwood. The fire was dubbed the Deer Complex Fire.

The first blaze, which was threatening one structure, was reported just after 2 a.m., according to Brian Helmick, fire chief of the East Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.

While firefighters were trying to get a handle on the flames, two other grass fires were called in. All the fires were in different spots around the intersection of Deer Valley and Balfour roads, a dispatcher said. 

"With three incidents of this magnitude close to each other without having any weather event, thunder or lightning, it is considered suspicious and is under investigation," Helmick said.

Two of the fires are completely contained, while a third is at 80 percent containment as of Saturday evening, according to Cal Fire. No injuries or evacuations were reported in the impacted rural area, Helmick added.

About 200 firefighters from Contra Costa, Alameda and Santa Cruz Counties, were deployed to the fires, according to dispatch. 

The National Weather Service has instated a heat advisory across most of the Bay Area until 9 p.m. Saturday. Temperatures inland are likely to reach 105 degrees Fahrenheit in Santa Rosa, 103 degreees Fahrenheit in Concord, 102 degrees Fahrenheit in Livermore and 93 degrees Fahrenheit in San Jose. 

Coastal areas will stay a bit cooler with 71 degrees Fahrenheit expected in San Francisco, 83 degrees Fahrenheit in Santa Cruz and 62 degrees in Half Moon Bay, forecasters say. 

A Red Flag Warning is also in effect through 9 p.m. Saturday, indicating that the weather is ideal for fires to spark and spread, according to the National Weather Service. The affected zone includes the East Bay hills and Diablo Range. Winds are expected to range from 10-20 mph and could even reach 25 mph, but will like decrease in strength later in the day. Humidity at 15 to 30 percent is already low, but it could plunge to single digits in the afternoon. 

Firefighters in the Bay Area are stretched thin as they work to extinguish fires on multiple fronts: the 2,000-acre Wall Fire in Butte County; the 2,035-acre Winters Fire in Yolo County; the 2,940-acre Hawk Fire in Kern County; and the 36-acre Banderilla Fire north of Hayward in Mariposa County, to name a few. 

People are being urged to take every possible precaution in the heat. Here are some ways to beat the heat:

  • Ensure that cool drinking water is available.
  • Drink water or electrolyte-replacing sports drinks often; do not wait until you are thirsty.
  • Avoid drinking sweetened drinks, caffeine, and alcohol.
  • Avoid drinking extremely cold water as this is more likely to cause cramps.
  • Allow athletes or outdoor workers to take frequent rests.

Older adults and individuals with chronic medical conditions:

  • Stay in an air-conditioned area during peak heat hours. If you do not have access to air conditioning in your home, visit public facilities such as cooling centers, shopping malls, parks, and libraries to stay cool.
  • Older adults and those on certain medications may not exhibit signs of dehydration until several hours after dehydration sets in. Stay hydrated by frequently drinking cool water. If you’re on a special diet that limits liquids, check with your doctor for information on the amount of water to consume.
  • Stay out of the sun if you do not need to be in it. When in the sun, wear a hat, preferably with a wide brim, and loose-fitting, light-colored clothing with long sleeves and pants to protect against sun damage. And remember to use sun screen and to wear sunglasses.

Infants and children:

  • It is illegal to leave an infant or child unattended in a vehicle (California Vehicle Code Section 15620).
  • Infants and young children can get dehydrated very quickly. Make sure they are given plenty of cool water to drink.
  • Keep children indoors or shaded as much as possible.
  • Dress children in loose, lightweight, and light colored clothing.


  • Never leave a pet unattended in a vehicle, even with the windows cracked or open.
  • Outdoor animals should be given plenty of shade and clean drinking water.
  • Do not leave pets outside in the sun.
  • Pets should not be left in a garage as garages can get very hot due to lack of ventilation and insulation.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that roughly 50 homes had been evacuated. No evacuations were caused by the Deer Complex Fire. (July 8, 2017)

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