Fire burns 30 acres near Martinez

A three-alarm grass fire burned about 30 acres and forced the closure of California Highway 4 near Alhambra Way shortly after 7 p.m. Friday, said Steve Aubert, Contra Costa County Fire Protection captain.

According to California Highway Patrol reports, four different fires were seen along the highway. Its long column of smoke could be seen from Martinez’s downtown business district and Waterfront Park.

“The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District received an initial notification of a grass fire along the eastbound side of Highway 4 just past the Alhambra exit and prior to the McEwen road exit at 7:14 p.m.,” he said.

The first units to arrived immediately raised the alarm level to two at 7:23 p.m., and that was increased to a three-alarm response by 7:27 p.m. because of the area’s steep slope and residences at the top of the ridge that were being threatened, Aubert said.

One home was evacuated on Wallin Street and other homes were threatened along St. Mary’s Way in Martinez, he said.

However, no Martinez structures were affected by the flames, Martinez Police Chief Manjit Sappal said.

California Highway Patrol handled traffic control on westbound Highway 4 west of Alhambra AVenue, said Officer Brandon Correia.

“Our first call came in about 7:12 p.m. and we stayed out there on scene until about 11 p.m. All lanes were shut down until 9:40 p.m.,” he said. One lane was open then, and traffic was funneled through that lane until 11 p.m., when CHP officers left and the California Department of Transportation took control of lane closures.

“Fortunately,no vehicles or structures were damaged or harmed,” Correia said.

Firefighters halted the fire’s progress and it was contained by 8:10 p.m., Aubert said.

“Through the quick aggressive attack of the fire, all homes were saved and no injuries were reported,” he said.

CONFIRE, CALFIRE, East Bay Regional Parks, Martinez Police, and California Highway Patrol participated in the fire fight.

“The cause of the fire remains under investigation but to note there were not any indications of suspicious activity as the cause of this fire,” Aubert said.

Firefighters remained in the area until Saturday to monitor the site to make sure no flare-ups occurred, he said.

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