Berkeley and East Bay Regional Park District firefighters put out a two-acre grass fire in the Berkeley Marina area on July 25. The smoke from the fire drifted up into the East Bay hills including Piedmont.
Several local NextDoor users commented on the smoke in Piedmont. Containing the fire did not involve Piedmont or Oakland firefighters.
EBRPD fire chief Aileen Theile was quoted in Berkeleyside as saying that the fire appeared to have been caused by someone at a homeless encampment. Firefighters had to close some roads around the area while they fought the blaze.
Michael Hunt, Public Information Officer for the Oakland Fire Department, said the Department has taken “over 440 calls for encampment fires since January, 2021” and over 50 in July.
That a relatively small fire in Berkeley could affect air in Piedmont is no surprise. Fires many miles to the north of the Bay Area regularly send smoke to the area and the East Coast recently saw significant amounts of smoke that travelled across the country from California wildfires. Last year’s bad air quality started in August and worsened into September.