Contra Costa County

Fire Danger Increases as East Bay Gets Hit With Triple Digit Temps

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Many parts of the East Bay were in the triple digits Wednesday, but Thursday is expected to be the hottest day of the year so far and with that comes fire danger.

With everything so dry, even the slightest accidental spark from traffic or yard work can be dangerous and fireworks are among the biggest concerns for firefighters.

“Fireworks are exceptionally, off the scale dangerous under the conditions we're in right now, aside from the fact that they're illegal,” said Steve Hill of the Contra Costa Fire Department.

A new Contra Costa County ordinance that just passed earlier this month increases fines and other penalties for people caught lighting them.

Besides the fire danger, the heat is also a concern for firefighters because of heat exhaustion.

Soaring temperatures are expected to bake the Bay Area through Friday and eastern Contra Costa County is one of the biggest hotspots. Christie Smith takes a look at the battle to beat the heat.

“It’s a very dangerous proposition for firefighters, our firefighters are out there in fire gear, we call them turn outs,” said Hill.

In an effort to respond fast to any calls, Contra Costa County fire has increased staffing, including wildland fire resources.

On this first day of the searing streak of heat, downtown Concord was a hot 104 degrees  

It's especially uncomfortable if your job is to stand around in a black uniform.

“For the most part I just drink water, go inside every now and then and keep my temperature right because I don't want to overheat and pass out,” said security guard Willie Johnson.

Several spots, like senior citizen's centers and libraries, are designated cooling areas in Contra Costa County. Those planning on dropping in should check on the hours and see if there are any masking or social distancing requirements.

But one of the best ways to escape the heat during a heat wave is to take a dip.

“It was so fun honestly, it was so nice because it's such a hot day and then having that cool water, it was amazing,” said Alonda Lopez who visited Hurricane Harbor. 

Now that masking rules and capacity restrictions are lifted at area pools and water parks, places like Hurricane Harbor in Concord are expecting a busy couple of days.

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