FAIRFIELD — Solano County sent a 17-person strike team to Contra Costa County to help battle the fire on Mount Diablo that on Monday and Tuesday sent smoke into Bay Area skies.
The Morgan Fire spread to 3,243 acres or more than 5 square miles Tuesday, more than double the 1,500 acres reported Monday morning, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. It was 60 percent contained. More than 1,410 firefighters and 143 engines statewide had been dispatched to the scene. The fire began at 1:08 p.m. Sunday.
Solano County’s strike team left at 4 a.m. Monday so it could arrive in time for the morning briefing, Dixon Fire Chief Aaron McAlister said. The team included five engines.
“They are prepared to be there as long as they need to be,” McAlister said. “Those assignments typically last seven to 14 days.”
Contributing to the team were the Dixon and Benicia fire departments, the Montezuma and Cordelia fire districts and California Medical Facility.
Apart from the strike team, the Vacaville Fire Protection District sent a water tender that is on loan from the Office of Emergency Services. Vallejo Fire Department Battalion Chief Dave Urruita went to the fire as a division supervisor.
The blaze broke out amid nearly triple-digit temperatures in the early afternoon. The cause was under investigation.
With his pickup truck already packed, Tom Fenner closely monitored the fire’s movement from the roof of his house to decide exactly when to leave.
“I knew this was the big fire they’re always talking about, that if a fire got onto the hill with all the fuel that was on the hill, that we were going to have a huge fire,” Fenner, 53, said. “And that’s exactly what’s taken place.”
The fire spewed a plume of smoke visible for miles. It was burning in steep, rugged terrain near Clayton, a town of about 11,000 people, alongside the park.
In addition to the difficult terrain, firefighters faced erratic winds and continued high temperatures. But they were confident they would get the blaze under control, Cal Fire spokesman David Shew said.
“We’ll get it, but it will probably be a few days,” he said.
Firefighters were aided by four air tankers and five water-dropping helicopters while battling the blaze.
A cloud of smoke could be seen Sunday and Monday from Solano County rising near Mount Diablo. It moved southward, with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District on Monday warning of possible impacts in Contra Costa, Alameda and Santa Clara counties.
Solano County firefighters also traveled to another county on Sunday to help with a major fire, though not a wildfire.
The county dispatched a fire task force to help battle a pallet factory fire near Sonoma. The task force had 14 firefighters that came from the Fairfield, Vacaville and Vallejo fire departments and the Cordelia Fire Protection District, McAlister said. It left at 4 p.m. Sunday and returned at 1 a.m. Monday.
This version updates the original to reflect the passage of time. The Associated Press contributed to this report. Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.