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California firefighters make progress in containing Tracy wildfire

June 3, 2024

Firefighters tame wind-driven wildfire near Tracy

California firefighters made progress Sunday in controlling a wind-driven wildfire that scorched thousands of acres near the city of Tracy, located 60 miles east of San Francisco.

As reported by AP News, the fire burned down a home and forced residents to evacuate the area.

The fire started Saturday afternoon in the grassy hills managed by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a key center for nuclear weapons science and technology.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) reported that the research center was not immediately threatened by the blaze, named the Corral Fire, which had consumed approximately 22 square miles by Sunday afternoon.

The fire was 50% contained as of Sunday evening (June 2).

Evacuations and containment efforts

Thousands of residents, including those in parts of Tracy, a city with a population of 100,000, were ordered to evacuate to safety on Saturday.

By Sunday evening, the evacuation order was lifted, allowing residents to return home.

Tracy is situated about 70 miles south of Sacramento, California’s capital.

CalFire Battalion Chief Josh Silveira noted that the fire “burned right up to the homes” in the area and destroyed one house.

He mentioned that with calmer winds and milder weather on Sunday, further growth of the fire was not expected.

Two firefighters suffered minor to moderate burns on Saturday and are expected to fully recover.

Impact on Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and infrastructure

Lawrence Livermore spokesperson Paul Rhien confirmed that the wildfire posed no threat to any laboratory facilities or operations and had moved away from the site.

Rhien stated: “As a precaution, we have activated our emergency operations center to monitor the situation through the weekend.”

The wildfire caused the temporary closure of two major highways, including an interstate connecting the San Francisco Bay Area to San Joaquin County.

These highways reopened by Sunday afternoon.

The San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services issued an evacuation order for areas west of the California Aqueduct, south of Corral Hollow Creek, west to Alameda County, and south to Stanislaus County.

A temporary evacuation point was set up at Larch Clover Community Center in Tracy.

Residents were advised to use boiled tap water or bottled water for drinking and cooking purposes temporarily.

Weather conditions and future forecasts

Sunday’s high temperature in Tracy was expected to reach 85 degrees Fahrenheit, with no rain in the forecast.

However, hotter conditions are anticipated later in the week.

The National Weather Service warned of “dangerously hot conditions” with highs ranging from 103 to 108 degrees Fahrenheit expected in the San Joaquin Valley, which includes Tracy.

Wind gusts of up to 45 mph were recorded Saturday night, according to meteorologist Idamis Shoemaker of the weather service in Sacramento.

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