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UPDATE: Fire Snarls Thursday Afternoon Traffic, Threatens Greenbrae Homes

A brush fire broke out on the hillside along southbound Highway 101 near Sir Francis Drake Blvd., backing up traffic in both directions; a fire also broke out in Tiburon around the same time.

A brush fire broke out on a Greenbrae hillside along southbound Highway 101 Thursday afternoon, threatening a number of homes on nearby Via La Cumbre and snarling traffic in both directions for several hours. The blaze was one of a pair of fires that broke out in southern Marin Thursday afternoon.

At approximately 3:15 pm, fire crews under the command of San Rafael Battalion Chief Jim Lydon responded to a vegetation fire near the Sir Francis Drake off ramp. Upon arrival, firefighters found a wildfire burning in dry brush rapidly advancing up the steep hillside towards five homes on Via La Cumbre, accoridng to Larkspur Fire Chief Bob Sinnott.

Twin Cities Police evacuated several residences and closed roadways to non-emergency traffic. California Highway Patrol officers shut down lanes along southbound 101 so that fire crews could operate safely.

Both Sir Francis Drake ramps from northbound and southbound 101 were closed but were reopened at 4:17 p.m. westbound Sir Francis Drake Boulevard remained closed at 5 p.m.

The two-alarm fire took approximately 30 minutes to fully control, Sinnott said. Homes at 50, 52, 56, 58, and 64 Via La Cumbre were directly threatened, but fire crews were able control the fire before any damage to homes occurred.

Units from San Rafael, Larkspur, Corte Madera, and Ross Valley Paramedic Authority assisted in controlling the fire. Approximately 2 acres of hillside was burned. Backyard fences, some decking and out structures were also damaged. A pool deck, wind screen and spa at 50 Via La Cumbre was damaged.

The cause is currently under investigation, Sinnott said.

"The fire is a reminder to all hillside property owners that it is time to clear flammable vegetation and to create defensible space zones so as to reduce the risk of wildfire damaging your home," Sinnott said.

Around the same time but further south in Marin, a vegetation fire in an open space area of Tiburon was contained before any homes or structures were threatened, Marin County Battalion Chief Mike Giannini said. 

The fire was first reported at 3:24 p.m. near Reed Ranch Road. The three-acre fire was contained by 4:15 p.m. Firefighters remained at the scene as of 4:40 p.m., the battalion chief said. Nearby homes and structures were not threatened by the blaze.

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