Fire crews received the call for a fire shortly before 5 p.m. The column of smoke rising could be seen from Byron Road as crews headed to the fire.
Four engines from the local fire department and one Cal Fire engine arrived at the creek near South Escuela and North Puente drives to find the fire burning through thick grass and tules.
A wire fence along the perimeter made accessing the creek bed difficult for the fire crews, preventing the fire department from getting engines close to the blaze. Instead, firefighters had to put down extended hose lines to get water to the conflagration.
“Crews were challenged by the wildland conditions and no access” said Tracy Fire Department Division Chief Andy Kellogg. “Crews used a progressive hose lay, which is very time-consuming and very physical in fighting the fire.”
High winds fanned the flames eastward, toward condominiums. But the fire was stopped by Mountain House Engine 98. Other crews arriving on scene began extensive mop-up duties, as the fire continued to smolder in the thick, matted grass.
“Any fire in the area with the wildlands conditions, the wind is a huge factor,” Kellogg said.
The creek winds for about a mile and is bordered by homes, an area set aside as a scenic and wildlife reserve in the Mountain House general plan. Only a small portion of the creekbed burned Monday, and fire officials said the potential for damage with the nearby homes was present.
Fire crews took about two hours to extinguish the fire, and the Mountain House engine made a few return trips throughout the evening to check for flare-ups.
Residents at the scene reported that the bridge near where the fire started is hangout for kids to smoke, and might have been the cause of the fire. However, fire officials said the cause is still undetermined.