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Brush Fire Contained on North Side of Lake Chabot, Park Reopened

An estimated 20 to 30 campers were evacuated and the park was closed for three hours while crews put out a three-acre brush fire on the north side of Lake Chabot, authorities said.

An estimated 20 to 30 campers were evacuated and Lake Chabot Regional Park was closed for three hours until 7 p.m. Monday while crews put out a three-acre brush fire, said Lt. Jon King of the East Bay Regional Park District police.

A huge plume of smoke was visible from nearby Interstate Highway 580 as fire crews attacked the fire at first by air and then on foot.

The fire was on steep terrain in the vicinity of the Lost Ridge group camp north of the Columbine Trail, which hugs the northern perimeter of the lake, King said. The camp is accessible through Marciel Road, which begins on the Oakland side of the lake and continues east toward the Castro Valley side.

"At this time of year when we have a lot of dry fuel we wanted to take precautions," King said, explaining the decision to evacuate campers. "It could very well have run up the hill [toward the camp]."

A Cal Fire helicopter dropped water, then two air tankers dropped fire retardant, opening the way for smaller engines and ground crews to get close to the fire and finish on foot in rugged terrain, King said.

A reader reported on Castro Valley Patch's Facebook page that the fire cut short his mountain bike ride on Brandon Trail at Marceil Road. "I thought I'd better track down a ranger/police before going any further...The ranger said that the fire was down deep in a canyon," he said.

Fire crews from Alameda County, Oakland, East Bay Regional Park District, Camp Parks and Cal Fire responded, King said.

"We'll have crews on it all night," King said. Although the park has reopened, he discouraged sightseers from trying to hike in for a look. "At this point in time, it's not safe for people to be up there and there's really nothing to see," he said.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, King said.

KTVU Channel 2 News posted a video of the fire.


Jason Ricca September 20, 2011 at 01:06 AM
The fire was at location "Columbine" on the map. The CDF helicopter showed up and made multiple water drops. A CDF plane came through with a drop of fire retardant. The EBRPD PD closed the park shortly thereafter.
Thomas Lee Coates September 20, 2011 at 01:11 AM
Thanks for the article & the video link. I grew up with lots of grass fires and I sure smelled it when I got home tonight. It's nice to know where it happened.
Joanne Montesano September 20, 2011 at 03:24 PM
I heard about it on TV news and did smell the smoke. Glad it was not any more serious and was contained and finally put out.
Gayle September 20, 2011 at 03:52 PM
Not Columbine! One of the most beautiful trails at Lake Chabot.
Lauren Edwards September 20, 2011 at 04:08 PM
Gayle, it wasn't on the trail itself. I think it will still be beautiful.

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