Trouble Battling Yerba Buena Island Blaze Ignites Concerns

A fire Sunday night has people living on Yerba Buena Island worried about their safety. Flames could be seen from miles away, and despite how close the fire was to the Treasure Island station, it was difficult to put out the grass fire that shut down two lanes of the Bay Bridge for hours.

"Water is a problem, the nearest hydrant is 1000 feet away,"  Battalion Chief Richard McGee said.

McGee added that water isn't the only problem.

"We're not really set up for this kind of firefight," he said. "This is like a wildland circumstance that requires different clothing, different hoses and we weren't really set up for that here."

The  fire burned grass and eucalyptus trees  on the south side of the bridge next to where it enters the tunnel.

Traffic was brought to a halt. Lanes were closed and traffic  backed up to almost Candlestick Park,where the 49er game had let out.

Karen Bosco has lived on Yerba Buena Island for four years.

"My concern was eucalyptus trees and the big fire hazard there's oil in the leaves," she said. "I know when I first moved on the island the Navy pruned them but I'm not aware of anything since then."

The cause of the fire is under investigation but investigators say it started in a remote part of the island. Island resident Frangis Afifi  has her suspicions.

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"A lot of tourists come here and they leave their trash and their cigarette butts and I'm concerned about that."

Firefighters spent Monday mopping up hotspots, and calling in a fire boat late in the afternoon to spray its endless supply of bay water on cliff side flare-ups . But McGee says the ground attack left room for improvement.

"We're going to make proper adjustments in the future."

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