Contra Costa County

Resident Accidentally Starts Brush Fire Outside His Brentwood Home

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Another day without rain and the dangers from this dry weather were on full display in the East Bay.

Rich Henderson was doing some routine maintenance at his home Thursday afternoon when a spark from a match started a fire on his Brentwood property.

Fire crews contained a brush fire Friday afternoon off Deer Valley Road consumed 7 acres, fire officials said.

The blaze, reported about 2:30 p.m. was burning along the 9600 block of Deer Valley Road near Briones Valley Road, according to the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District.

The gauge in front of Cal Fire says fire danger is low but underneath all that green grass, there’s dry grass ready to burn.

“When I lit the match, part of the match broke off and jumped about two feet and hit the grass and it went up so fast, couldn’t stop it,” said homeowner Rich Henderson.

The fire quickly spread, an unusual run for a fire in February when the ground is supposed to be saturated.

“It’s unusual but it’s not unusual because of the amount of rain we haven’t gotten,” said Brandon Piercy from CalFire.

According to a weekly report issued by the U.S. Drought Monitor, close to 60% of the state of California is abnormally dry and that includes all nine Bay Area counties.

In places that have suffered significant wild fires like Napa, Sonoma and Lake Counties, the lack of rain means a great possibility of an early fire season.

“We have a lot of fuel reduction crews out there right now,” said Piercy. “There’s a big project on Highway 17 that’s effecting a lot of people right now.”

Henderson is mindful that his home is surrounded by a lot of vegetation. He does what he can to keep his home safe, even during the winter months.

“I’ve got 12 of the 20 acres mowed I can’t mow that hillside and that’s where it started,” he said.

It’s too early for Cal Fire to start adding staff at their various locations. If the dry weather continues, adding staff early this year is something the state will consider.

No injuries were reported.

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