Con Fire announces end to heightened seasonal wildfire danger

After 193 days, Con Fire declares end of heightened seasonal wildfire danger

Con Fire announces end to heightened seasonal wildfire danger
Firefighters in Contra Costa County have been busy this year as dry conditions kept fire danger high. Illegal fireworks-caused fire destroyed multiple apartments on May 31, 2021 on Hargrove Street in Antioch, displacing some 40 residents. (Photo courtesy Con Fire)

CONCORD, CALIF., November 17, 2021 Con Fire has reduced initial vegetation fire responses to a single fire engine because of recent and expected precipitation.

The decision to reduce responses came last week. This came after several soaking rains and the expectation of further imminent precipitation. The reduction signals the end of heightened fire danger, which Con Fire first announced on May 1. This year’s period of seasonal fire danger lasted 193 days.

While a dangerous fire year around the state, Contra Costa fared reasonably well. Con Fire credits fire service preparation and planning, resident participation, early reporting, and rapid, over-whelming responses for this. Most wildfires in 2021 were held to 10 acres or less.

“With nearly year-round fire danger, our fire risks in Contra Costa County are no less than surrounding counties, especially those to the north with similar terrain and conditions,” said Fire Chief Lewis Broschard, Contra Costa County Fire Protection District. “Con Fire urges all residents to practice fire safety in all outdoor activities. [You should ] plan well ahead of the typical spring-months arrival of fire danger for weed abatement and defensible space creation around properties.”

An active season

Wind-driven grassfire caused by youths playing with fire on May 19, 2021 destroys Martinez home, threatens many more.

Through the end of October, the District dispatched crews to some 1,528 grass and other exterior fires. Areas burned were mostly kept to less than 10 acres. Exceptions included grass fires in Clyde on June 26 and a few days later in the morning hours of July 4 in Pittsburg. These fires scorched 40 acres each. A vegetation fire in Martinez on May 25 burned a total of 25 acres and an April 1 fire in Antioch burned 12 acres.

Unfortunately, at least 66 residents were displaced from their homes because of wind-driven grass fires burning into seven apartment buildings or single family homes during this period.

In the most noteworthy of these fires, illegal firework sparked an early season grass fire. This fire spread to apartment buildings in Antioch. Because of this, eight units became uninhabitable with 40 residents displaced. Two additional wind-driven fires in Antioch, plus one each in Martinez and Walnut Creek also caused displacements.

In these cases, Con Fire’s American Red Cross partners worked to assist victims with temporary housing and other needs. All told, in Con Fire’s communities, the Red Cross provided assistance to 357 residents this year. They aided victims of 60 separate fire incidents, including the five wind-driven fire-caused evacuations above.

This year’s grass fires and related displacements of residents demonstrate we are not immune to wildfire danger in Contra Costa County. Weed abatement and defensible space creation are essential to protecting homes and businesses from wildfire risk. For more on wildfire safety, visit