Grass fires in San Mateo County are nearly contained

REDWOOD – A lawn fire that broke out Tuesday afternoon west of Redwood and prompted evacuation orders for nearby neighborhoods was contained Wednesday evening, authorities said.

The seven-alert Edgewood Fire, which was first reported Tuesday at 2:22 p.m. at Edgewood Road and Crestview Drive on the northeast periphery of Edgewood Park and Natural Preserve, covered 20 acres and was 80% contained as of 5:38 Wednesday evening, according to Cal Fire.

“The smoke has greatly diminished but there are still some hot spots,” Calfair spokeswoman Cecile Juliette said Wednesday. “That’s what they’re going to focus on today – to get rid of the hot spots and strengthen the control lines.”

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A total of four firefighters sustained minor injuries, according to Cal Fire Department Vice President Jonathan Cox. The four people were treated and released until Wednesday morning.

Officials said the Edgewood fire broke out in “steep, thick vegetation” and climbed across the valley toward homes in Emerald Hills, approaching a few hundred feet. It also threatened the PG&E substation on Canada Road and generated thick smoke over Interstate 280.

A second fire was reported minutes after the Edgewood fire, about one mile south at Colton Court, which is also near the park’s perimeter.

Cox said the Colton fire quickly set off two alarms, but was contained until Tuesday evening. He added that the fire covered “several acres.”

The fires prompted mandatory evacuation orders for Edgewood Park, Handley Rock Park, Emerald Hills and the town of Woodside east of the Cañada Road to Emerald Hills. Just before 8:30 p.m., evacuation orders were reduced to warnings.

An evacuation center was established at the Veterans Affairs Center at 1455 Madison Ave. in Redwood City. Residents were asked to bring large animals to car park No. 6 in Canada College.

REDWOOD CITY, CA - JUNE 21: A Cal Fire helicopter drops water on an Emerald Hills wildfire near Edgewood PG&E's substation in Redwood City, California, on Tuesday, June 21, 2022. Two multiple-alert fires erupt in the grassy areas west of The City of Redwood has requested evacuation orders.  (Jane Tesca/Bay Area News Group)
REDWOOD CITY, CA – JUNE 21: A Cal Fire helicopter drops water on an Emerald Hills wildfire near Edgewood PG&E’s substation in Redwood City, California, on Tuesday, June 21, 2022. Two multiple-alert fires erupt in the grassy areas west of The City of Redwood has requested evacuation orders. (Jane Tesca/Bay Area News Group)

About 8,900 Pacific Gas & Electric customers have experienced blackouts due to the fire, according to utility spokesperson Carly Hernandez. The outages were reported at the same time as the fires raging and affecting parts of Stanford University and San Mateo College. Face-to-face lessons at the latter institution have been canceled for the day.

As of 1 p.m. Wednesday, about 1,165 customers still do not have power because PG&E cannot reach certain locations to make repairs on electrical equipment damaged by the fire.

“We are actively looking to connect affected customers to other sections of our electrical system and will begin repairs once the area is safe and access is granted,” PG&E spokeswoman Mayra Tostado said.

The fires broke out as the area experienced high temperatures approaching 100 degrees.

“We are currently battling some very high temperatures,” Cox said. “Fortunately, we don’t have winds that are really challenging for us, but we expect this heat to continue all night, which will require us to stay here until we have some containment.”

The cause of the Colton Wedgwood fires is still under investigation. Residents reported hearing explosions before the fire broke out. Wind did not play a role in the spread of the Edgewood fire, but high temperatures and low fuel moisture did.

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