Multiple fires spotted burning along Highway 4 in Martinez Friday evening have merged in areas and are burning swiftly, in some cases in the direction of local homes.
Firefighters called for a 3 Alarm response to the blaze, reported at 7:14 p.m. by California Highway Patrol officers and motorists who saw the spot fires around that time. The blaze, driven by gusty winds and in an upslope direction, forced firefighters into defensive positions around several neighborhoods and structures.
Flames briefly threatened homes on Canyon Way, Frieda Court and Wallin but were beaten back by crews assuming a defensive posture around the structures. A thunderhead of grey-black smoke was seen rising from the affected area and drifting eastward, sparking additional calls from concerned residents.
Firefighters appeared to have gained the upper hand on the blaze shortly after 8 p.m. but are in a clean up or mop up mode and are expected to be for a while tonight.