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A look back at the 6000 acre fire on Mt

Friday night lightning sparked fire on Mt. Diablo brought back many bad memories for those who were around 34 years ago, because on August 2, 1977, after two years of drought and a day of horrible lightning, a fire started on Mt. Diablo that would end with devistating results.

Over 6,000 acres burned in a matter of days, and the entire North side of the mountain was blackened. 700 firefighters battled the blazes, along with a dozen cargo planes.

The first lightning strikes hit above the quarries on Mt. Zion, then the second bolt hit Twin Peaks, according to Bob Doyle, one of the founders of Save Mt. Diablo. The real core was Mitchell, Back and Donner Canyons.

The year after, we had the most amazing display of flowers I had ever seen it sterilized the soil in places and nothing grew, but pockets of fire poppy and golden eardrops were jerseys Some slopes were covered with millions of them. All the annual flowers were incredible, but as you went upslope, a lot of the east face of Eagle and Twin Peaks had nothing for several years.

Doyle says this wasn the only devistating fire on Mt. 1977’s fire was the second largest, after a five day fire July 3 7, 1931 which began in Blackhawk and eventually charred 25,000 acres. That fire burned the mountain’s south side. Three weeks later the north side burned.

Thanks to Seth Adams with Save Mount Diablo for the information, and to Bill Sattler his family for the great photos.

I was working for Assemblyman Dan Boatwright when the fire occurred. I was able to tour the Mountain after the fire with State Fire Chief Marvin Dodge, Fire Chief Ray Morgan and Dr. Harold Biswell of UC. (Dr. Biswell was an expert on the roll of fire in our ecosystems.)

The three day fire burned slowly and jumped around the mountain.

According to Dr. Biswell, the mountain has had many fires and that new growth generated by such fires was healthy for the Mountain. Dodge said that the worse damage from the fire was created by the bulldozing of creek beds in trying to stop the fire.

If you go to Juniper (two miles from the top, you can see the progression of new growth from past fires.

No one likes fire, especially if it is damaging to people and structures (including animals). However, the 1977 fire did not seem to qualify as such a bad thing.

That third photo does look like Back Canyon, one of my favorites too.

There a spot just above Deer Flat with a stand of large blackened skeleton trees. I call them the Sentinals; they are kind of eerie, and sad.

This wasn a good fire; we harm the mountain by not letting it burn regularly and naturally.

When decades of fuel burns at once it is too hot and fast moving. Seeds that have evolved to crack open in the heat of a regular fire are instead destroyed. Mature trees that would normally survive, revitalized with the fertilizer/ashes from the burnt undergrowth, are instead killed.

The whole ecosystem evolved in fire and we should be doing regular controlled burns. Even the wildlife has a chance if the fires are small and slow moving, vs. these 50 year conflagrations.

I beg your pardon, but lightning struck Mt. Diablo on August 1st (not 2nd) in 1977. I happened to be on the telephone wishing my Grandmother a Happy 84th Birthday when I saw the lightning strike that started the whole thing! For days thereafter, we needed to come and go from our own homes, as the police were not letting anyone thru unless we could prove where we lived. Worried, we barely slept for 4 nights and didn see the sun again for almost a full week. Diablo Elementary School; all organized chaos; thrilling and very scary at the same time. in Concord Cleaned UpWe did it everyone (not really)anonanonagain on Massive Bust in Contra Costa County Nets 24 Alleged Norteno Gang MembersThey don’t deserve to breathe the air that we inhale. Scumbags that think that they are beyond the law. Let’s hope that they face years

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