I-80 reopens after large-scale fire spread near Carquinez Bridge in Vallejo
An intense wildfire started next to the Carquinez Bridge toll plaza on I-80 and quickly spread, closing the critical commuter route for five hours Sunday, threatening nearby homes and forcing sudden evacuations.
Toll collectors on the bridge, which connects Solano County to Contra Costa County, were told to leave their booths when the fire ignited just after 9 a.m. Videos on television and from motorists on social media showed heavy smoke rising to the sky off the cured grass adjacent the bridge. High winds pushed the fire to both sides of the Carquinez Strait, said John Goodwin, spokesman for the Bay Area Toll Authority.
Crews with the Vallejo Fire Department brought the fast-moving fire under control, said Solano County CHP Officer David Harvey. Lanes in both directions on the bridge and I-80 from Highway 4 to I-780 reopened gradually around 2:30 p.m., according to Vince Jacala, a Caltrans spokesman.
Power remained out at the toll plaza as part of PG&E’s planned shut-off, but the toll plaza continued to function on a generator, he said. The bridge, which has an average of 131,000 motorists per weekday, was still collecting electronic tolls with FasTrak.
You can reach Staff Writer Kevin Fixler at 707-521-5336 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @kfixler.