Wildfire and Record Heat Mark July’s Start

Author: Meera, July 2, 2013


Ripening corn needs water

Ripening corn needs water



My corn is drooping, the ears are shriveling, the lush green leaves are beginning to look like oven-roasted kale chips. No question that the early summer heat is taking a toll on my garden.


July is usually a hot month. But here on the farmette this first week of July, temperatures over the last few days have reached 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Five minutes away up on the ridges of Clayton, I have been watering my daughter’s garden, too. Yesterday, over the top of a towering bone-dry hill opposite her house, I caught sight of smoke and local cattle moving down off the hills toward the neighborhood homes.


That grass fire, roughly two miles away from her home, mushroomed into a cloud of smoke. The main artery over those hills, Kirker Pass Road, was closed while firefighters fought the blaze yesterday afternoon. The fire was near the Concord Navel Weapons Station. The winds blow off the Carquinez Strait up through the East Bay valleys in late afternoon each day, and yesterday was no exception. Wind increases the risk that the fire can spread.


As I watered the citrus, I saw helicopters (Cal Fire sent four planes) carrying water overhead to douse the fire. A helicopter passed over about every fifteen minutes. In just a few hours, the blaze charred 492 acres, burned a trio of structures, and threatened some homes. It’s worrisome to local homeowners that because of dwindling resources, Contra Costa County recently closed the fire department in Clayton, closest to that grass fire.


So, we all count ourselves fortunate that  local fire fighters and their hard work over the next five hours resulted in a dousing of that fire.

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