Arid weather kindles caution in the Bay

With eight grass fires in the last seven days, including a 200-acre blaze in Palo Alto, the potential for a raging wildfire on the Peninsula hovers over the area like a smoky haze.

Two small grass fires in Half Moon Bay and Daly City on Monday morning had officials urging residents to take the necessary precautions guarding against any possible flare-ups which, given the conditions, could easily spread and damage wide swaths of land, as well as homes and businesses.

Fueling the dangerous conditions is the lack of rainfall the Bay Area has received so far this year. According to the University of Nevada-affiliated Western Climate Center, San Francisco International Airport received 11.63 inches of rain from July 1, 2006, until June 30 of this year — 58 percent of normal.

Conditions in the area and around the state are here months ahead of time — what Californians typically experience in August and September are current conditions, fire officials said. “The vegetation that would normally dry out during [the end of summer] — it’s already dry,” said Daniel Berlant, a spokesman with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Firefighters in Half Moon Bay and Daly City on Monday put out early morning fires and implored residents to protect themselves and others from danger.

Just before 7 a.m. Monday, the Half Moon Bay Fire Department responded to a call near the Pillar Point Radar Station in El Granada. The fire had started in a pine grove, popular with hikers and joggers, above a trailer park, Chief Paul Cole said.

The dead foliage, mostly pine needles, called “duff,” burned several trees and surrounding brush, Cole said. The cause of the fire was undetermined. Firefighters put out the fire in 10 minutes but stayed on the scene for an extra 80 minutes because they discovered some of the trees’ root systems were burning underground, Cole said.

In Daly City roughly an hour later, firefighters responded to a grass fire that burned a small 10-by-10-foot patch of ice plant along Skyline Boulevard. Daly City Fire spokeswoman Angelina Ciucci said the cause of that fire was still under investigation.

No one was injured or threatened by either fire.

On June 23, what officials are now calling a 200-acre wildfire near the Stanford dish threatened buildings along Page Mill and Old Page Mill roads, but none were damaged.

dsmith@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

San Francisco Public Bank Coalition advocates rallied on Feb. 5, 2019 as the Board of Supervisors considered supporting the creation of a public banking charter. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Debate reignites over San Francisco’s first public bank

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, momentum was building for San Francisco to… Continue reading

Apprenticeship instructor Mike Miller, center, demonstrates how to set up a theodolite, a hyper-sensitive angle measuring device, for apprentices Daniel Rivas, left, Ivan Aguilar, right, and Quetzalcoatl Orta, far right, at the Ironworkers Local Union 377 training center in Benicia on June 10, 2021. (Courtesy Anne Wernikoff/CalMatters)
California’s affordable housing crisis: Are labor union requirements in the way?

By Manuela Tobias CalMatters California lawmakers introduced several bills this year that… Continue reading

Mayor London Breed spoke at the reopening of the San Francisco Public Library main branch on April 20. (Sebastian Miño-Bucheli/Special to The Examiner)
SF reopening more libraries through the summer

After a handful of San Francisco public libraries reopened last month for… Continue reading

A new production of Beethoven’s “Fidelio” directed by Matthew Ozawa and designed by Alexander V. Nichols will be onstage at the War Memorial Opera House in October. (Courtesy Alexander V. Nichols)
SF Opera announces transitional 99th season

Company returns to Opera House with downsized schedule, no fall ball

Most Read