OAKLEY (CBS SF) -- Strong winds whipped a brush fire across the peat wetlands of Bradford Island in Eastern Contra Costa County early Monday, forcing the residents to flee by ferryboat and crews to use fireboats to battle the flames.
Fire Marshal Steve Aubert of the East Contra Costa Fire District said his agency got a call at around 1 a.m. reporting the fire on the sparsely populated 2,172-acre island in the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta near Oakley.
As of 5 a.m., the fire had grown to 212 acres and damaged at least two homes. Winds were whipping through the area when the fire ignited.
Aubert said the remoteness delayed the response and evacuation as they had to wait for the ferry boat captain to arrive on the scene.
Eventually, the residents were evacuated and some ground crews were able to arrive on the island to fight the fire. Fireboats from Contra Costa Fire and the Coast Guard were also involved in the effort.
"The area is extremely remote," Aubert said. "The only way onto this island is through a ferry."
The fire was burning in drought-dried peat moss. Aubert said many of the residents decided to stay and fight the fire on their own.
"It has a lot of burning capabilities," Aubert said of the fuels. "It will most likely last for a number of days."
There were no immediate reports of injuries.
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