Two teenagers admitted to lighting the vegetation fire in the Sign Hill area of southern San Francisco for hours on Friday afternoon, resulting in evacuations and displaced persons.
Police in South San Francisco said “a neighborhood alert” reported seeing two teenagers leave the area shortly after the fire just before noon Friday. Police said they had identified two local youths aged 14 and 16 as part of their “follow-up” and questioned them.
The couple then admitted to police detectives that they were “responsible for starting the fire,” police said. Both teenagers have been released to family members while officials continue investigations into the fire, police said.
The police investigation is expected to be turned over to the South San Francisco firefighter, who will “conduct a full investigation and make his findings at a later date.”
All evacuation orders were lifted around the four-alarm vegetation fire, firefighters said.
The fire, which began on the south side of historic Sign Hill, was contained shortly after 2:15 p.m., firefighters said. . Evacuation orders were lifted about three hours later.
No injuries were reported and no structures were destroyed, the police said. Police officers in South San Francisco said the lack of injuries and destruction was “due to the extraordinary efforts of all authorities involved”.
Images captured by devastating cameras and social media posts showed clouds of smoke and flames approaching the 1920s Hillside Sign, a historic landmark overlooking South San Francisco. The sign was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996.
According to the South San Francisco Fire Department, mandatory evacuations have been carried out on Carnelian Road, Sonja Road, Mountain Road, Ridgeview Court and Viewmont Terrance. A temporary evacuation center has been set up at 33 Arroyo Drive.
The fire broke out amid a red flag warning from the National Weather Service indicating a high risk of fire from wind, high temperatures and low humidity, which will last until at least 8 a.m. on Saturday.
Cal Fire units assisted the South San Francisco Fire Department response to the fire, known as the Diamond Fire. Cal Fire flew helicopters and an air tanker to fight the fire as part of their firefighting efforts, police said.
A cloud of smoke from the fire was visible from space, according to satellite images tweeted by the National Weather Service’s Bay Area office. NWS said an easterly wind was pushing the column of smoke towards the Pacific and away from San Francisco International Airport.
Michael Williams and Lauren Hernandez are writers for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com Twitter: @michaeldamianw @ByLHernandez