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Firefighters Extinguish Blaze at Windward Way

Fire officials said the area in the Canal neighborhood has been a location for homeless encampments that the city has been aggressively trying to remove.

San Rafael firefighters battled a vegetation fire at Windward Way on Saturday night. Photo by Larry Luckham.
San Rafael firefighters battled a vegetation fire at Windward Way on Saturday night. Photo by Larry Luckham.

This was originally posted on August 18, 2013 at 05:09 PM


The following is a lightly edited e-mail from San Rafael Fire Chief Chris Gray: 

At approximately 9:00 PM on August 17, 2013, San Rafael Firefighters responded to a reported vegetation fire at Windward Way in San Rafael, in an area containing homeless encampments.

Upon arrival, Captain Giusti and his crew on Engine 54 found a fast moving fire located approximately 300' from the road.  

Access was challenging due to terrain, dense shrubbery and darkness. 

This area is known to contain encampments and numbers of people. Firefighters quickly searched the area and utilized a thermal imaging camera to search for potentially injured or unconscious victims. None were found. The origin of the fire centered around an encampment, but no specific cause was determined. 

Capt. Giusti remained Incident Commander and directed extinguishment. Fortunately, the fire was quickly contained thanks to some aggressive work by firefighters. 

A total of four San Rafael Engines, one Medic Unit and one Battalion Chief responded to the incident.

The fire consumed less than one acre with no immediate threat to structures. No damage or injuries were reported.

As an important reminder, camping, cooking and smoking are not permitted in San Rafael Open Space.

Such activity threatens the community and we remain particularly vulnerable due to hazardous fire conditions. 

Residents and visitors are reminded not to use or discard smoking materials near flammable vegetation. 

Residents are further advised  call 9-1-1 at the slightest wisp of smoke or fire.

The National Weather Service has issued a fire warning for the Bay Area through Monday due to a chance of dry lightning.

See more photos from the blaze here on our Facebook page. 


diane August 19, 2013 at 04:09 PM
I did smell the smoke from this fire, but shortly before that, there was a strong smell that seemed to smell like gas. It may also have been the smell from butane? Did anyone else in Central to the west side of the freeway in Southern San Rafael smell this? There is a gas pipeline (like San Bruno's) a couple of blocks from my home, so this was scary.

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