An unusual January wildfire forced dozens of Pacifica residents to evacuate their homes early Monday morning before firefighters were able to contain the six-alarm blaze.
The Pacifica fire was reported at 3:35 a.m. in brush and vegetation in steep terrain on the 110 block of Fassler Avenue near Highway 1, SF Gate reported. By 7:30 a.m., firefighters had contained the fire and said residents could return to their homes when the fire was fully controlled, which was expected by 8:30 a.m.
— Mercury News (@mercnews) January 26, 2015
Eighty to 90 homes in the Rockaway Beach area were evacuated, Clyde Preston of the North County Fire Authority said. He added that firefighters would remain on the scene throughout the day to monitor should hotspots occur.
“Tinder-dry conditions” at the end of a rainless month aided the spread of the blaze, Preston said. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Gina and Kevin Cox awoke Monday morning smelling smoke and quickly fled their townhome on Fassler when the evacuation order was issued.
“We had to make a decision what to grab,” Gina Cox xaid. They took their three-legged toy fox terrier, five days’ worth of clothes, their tax information and scrapbooks.
“It’s like your stomach is cringing and you’re going, ‘Is this really happening?”’ she added.
She and her husband are acquainted with fires by now. They have a cabin in the El Dorado County town of Pollock Pines, and had to evacuate in September when the King Fire burned 97,000 acres in the Sierra.
“We’re more ready for a tsunami than we are for a wildfire,” Gina Cox said.
Kyle Collingsworth, 43, said he woke up at 3:45 a.m. to “cars honking like crazy” and a neighbor calling him to see if he was ok.
“I looked outside and saw 40-foot flames coming down the hill,” he said. “I grabbed my girlfriend’s stepdaughter, three dogs and four cats. I know the winds are coming from the east. The fire was coming right for us.”
Early-season rains halted last month, and the landscape has dried out. San Francisco is on the verge of going an entire January with no measurable rain, a first in the 166 years of record-keeping.
Pacifica Residents Cleared to Return Home Following 6-Alarm Fire