Fire truck

Update, 2:30 p.m. An 8-alarm fire in Solano County is covering Berkeley with smoke. See the story.

Original post, 1 p.m., Berkeley and Oakland firefighters, already on high alert because of high winds and low humidity, quickly extinguished a small vegetation fire behind Clark Kerr campus on Friday morning.

The Berkeley Fire Department received multiple calls about smoke and flames around 3:44 a.m. from people living in the area above the campus, said Fire Chief Gil Dong. One resident in the Panoramic Way area was able to give a fairly precise location to the fire department, in an area above the track along Dwight Way.

Oakland firefighters also responded to the call as they always do when there is a Red Flag Warning, said Chief Dong. The fire grew to a half-acre in size but was extinguished by 4:35 a.m.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The Red Flag Warning is still in effect for today and Berkeley firefighters will do extra patrols in the hill area while the warning is in place, said Chief Dong. He cautioned people against doing anything that might spark a fire, such as smoking outdoors, barbecuing, or cutting vegetation.

There were five fires in the broader Bay Area last night, said Chief Dong. The largest was in Napa County, near Lake Berryessa. The others were in Livermore, Martinez, and San Jose.

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Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman...