Cost to contain Morgan Fire reaches $4.5 Million

Cost to contain Morgan Fire reaches $4.5 Million

14 September 2013

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USA — The fire that torched more than 3,100 acres on Mount Diablo and continues to burn into its sixth day has cost more than $4.5 million in resources, fire officials said Friday.

The blaze, dubbed the Morgan Fire, was 95 percent contained Friday morning and was expected to be fully contained by the end of the day, according to Cal Fire spokesman Steve Kaufmann. Firefighters continued to mop up and patrol the fire perimeter, he said.

“Once the fire is completely contained, crews will remain on site for several days looking for hidden smokers. They’ll be out there mopping up for a while,” Cal Fire spokesman Dennis Mathisen said Friday.

The estimated cost to date for the fire, which started Sunday afternoon and scorched 3,133 acres, was $4,574,823, officials said. That price tag includes the cost of fighting the fire, equipment and firefighter pay, Mathisen said.

Investigators on Thursday announced the fire was sparked by target shooting. However, officials have not identified the exact location or any persons involved. The Marsh Creek Detention Facility has a firing range, but the fire started on the west side of Morgan Territory Road, separated from the range by more than half a mile and a small group of homes.

Four firefighters were injured fighting the blaze, but none seriously, fire officials said.

Officials noted that much of the area affected by the fire had not burned since the 1930s. Crews on Thursday shifted their attention to cleaning up and preventing erosion and mudslides from hillsides that have lost the trees and brush that help the ground act as a sponge during rainfall.

Over the next several weeks, workers will install “water bars,” which help control the flow of water down hillsides, and reseed the burned ground with new trees and plants.

Meanwhile, Mt. Diablo State Park is set to reopen Monday, said Dave Matthews, public safety coordinator for the Diablo Valley District of the state park system. Workers are planning to repair and rebuild restrooms, trails, picnic tables and campgrounds damaged by the fire, he said. Mother Nature will take care of the rest.

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