HERCULES -- A runaway road flare, later fed by gusty winds, was to blame for a fire that threatened homes Wednesday afternoon near Interstate 80, officials said.
Crews responded to a vegetation fire on the westbound side of Interstate 80 west of the Highway 4 junction around 12:07 p.m., according to Lon Goetsch, battalion chief for the Rodeo-Hercules Fire Protection District.
When crews arrived, the fire had grown to the point where homes and buildings were being threatened, and additional crews were called to the scene.
According to Goetsch, a half-acre of grass was being driven by gusty winds on a steep hillside.
Firefighters managed to contain the blaze and protect homes in the Village Parkway neighborhood, Goetsch said. Damage was limited to some roadway signs and guardrail posts.
According to Goetsch, the fire was caused when a road flare being used for traffic control by Caltrans crews blew off the freeway and ignited the grass.
Caltrans workers were admonished and advised to stop the use of road flares unless they began using proper safety precautions, Goetsch added.
No one was injured in the fire.
Contact Katie Nelson at 925-945-4782 or follow her at Twitter.com/katienelson210.