Five East Bay regional parks have been scorched by the SCU Complex Fire that started on August 16 with lightning strikes; three parks are still actively burning.
Sunol, Ohlone Wilderness, Morgan Territory, Mission Peak and Round Valley were all struck by lightning which caused the fires inside these parks. Round Valley, Morgan Territory and Mission Peak fires are in the process of being mopped up, while the others are still burning with limited containment.
All District parks, except shorelines and regional trails have been closed since Friday, August 21 due to high fire danger, unhealthy air quality and limited staff to assist in other potential cases of park emergencies. If air quality improves to acceptable standards, the Park District General Manager anticipates reopening most non-fire affected parks this Thursday, August 27.
“Closing parks is always our last resort when safety of people, property or the environment cannot be maintained,” said Robert Doyle, General Manager. “We’ve kept our parks open with restrictions since the beginning of COVID even when other agencies didn’t,” he added. “Parks are essential now more than ever, but we can’t risk having visitors in the parks when there are extreme fire safety concerns and unhealthy smoke in the air.”
Today, Park District firefighters continue to manage fires in the Calaveras and Canyon Fire Complexes in Sunol, Ohlone Wilderness. EBRPD crews are also providing mutual aid and equipment to other regional fires. There has been no determination of acres burned within the parks nor assessment on potential assets lost.
“Crews have been phenomenal in battling very tough terrain in the regional parks,” said General Manager Robert Doyle. “Our Eagle 7 helicopter pilots have endlessly dropped water and tactically guided CalFire response teams to fire lines in remote areas when no other State air resources were available.”
Eagle helicopter is the only air support available in the regional parks on fire right now, with fire command who know the parks so well they play a critical leadership role from the air.
The Park District thanks the community for their support and patience during the temporary closures.