Grass Fire Prompts Evacuations, Shuts Down WB Highway 12 in Fairfield

FAIRFIELD -- Lots of smoke, a strong Delta breeze and dry conditions late Thursday afternoon in Fairfield turned what started as a small grass fire along Highway 12 westbound into a battle for more than 80 firefighters.

"We actually had a crew coming back from another brush fire that had happened approximately an hour earlier. They on-viewed the fire, attempted to make it stop, but with the winds, we had it just took off in the grass and it ended up going four alarms," said John Sturdee with the Fairfield Fire Department.

Crews were initially called out to Highway 12 about 5 p.m. because of a traffic accident, but what they found instead was a quick-moving grass fire that eventually shut down the westbound lanes of the highway.

It wasn't until more than two hours later, during the height of rush hour, that traffic was again allowed to flow down Highway 12 westbound, mop up crews continued their work into the evening, and residents who were told to evacuate were finally allowed back in.