The smoke and haze blanketing Stanislaus County on Friday afternoon and evening were from a 2,163-acre grass fire first spotted at a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory test site in the Altamont hills.
"We're getting reports of large columns of smoke in Patterson, reports of smoke from Salida through Ceres. Stanislaus County is just being blanketed by drift smoke," an official with Stanislaus Regional 911 said Friday evening. The official said the 911 center and county fire departments had received more than 100 phone calls from Stanislaus County residents about the smoke and haze.
Gordon Yano, a Lawrence Livermore spokesman, said the fire was first spotted about 4:30 p.m. at the lab's Site 300 Experimental Test Site, which straddles Alameda and San Joaquin counties and is about 15 miles east of the Livermore laboratory. "It burned rapidly to the east, pushed by winds," Yano said. The cause of the fire was under investigation.
As of 7:54 p.m. it was 90 percent contained, Yano said, citing information from Alameda County fire officials. He said no structures were damaged or people injured on test site property. Yano said he had heard the fire threatened structures outside of test site property but did not have further information.