CLAYTON, Calif. — A wildfire burning in a San Francisco Bay Area wilderness park led to the evacuation of several dozen homes.
The blaze broke out amid temperatures near triple digits in early afternoon on the edge of Mt. Diablo State Park in Contra Costa County about 15 miles northeast of San Francisco, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said in a statement.
By nightfall it had surged to 800 acres, state fire officials said, spewing a plume of smoke visible for miles around and leading to the evacuation Sunday of 50 to 75 homes in Clayton, a town of about 11,000 people alongside the park.
"I could just see it moving toward us," resident Ann Hyde, who lives about 2 ½ miles from the spot where the fire started, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "The embers are all over the place and they make me nervous.... We've never had anything this big before."
Though not far from more densely populated parts of the Bay Area, the threatened homes were on sparsely populated properties dotted with animal pens and shooting ranges.
Karen Cooper, who works at a kennel in the area, said she had safely evacuated 20 dogs, but two of her horses, named Butter and Pineapple, were missing.
"It's been intense," Cooper told the Contra Costa Times.
An evacuation center was established at Clayton Community Library.
About 250 firefighters from several surrounding agencies were struggling with tough, steep terrain. With help from four planes and three helicopters they had the blaze 10 percent contained.