VIDEO: Wildfire in Oakland, Berkeley hills being investigated as possible arson

BERKELEY (KRON) — The wildfire that burned along Grizzly Peak in the Oakland and Berkeley hills Wednesday is being investigated as possible arson, an official with UC Berkeley Police confirmed.

The fire was first reported around 1 p.m. in the area of Grizzly Peak Boulevard near Sign Post 14, on university property, according to UC Berkeley police spokeswoman Sgt. Sabrina Reich.

UC Berkeley is the lead agency on the fire investigation. They are investigating the possible arson as “reckless burning.”

UC Berkeley has asked for Cal Fire’s assistance for help investigating the fire. 

Both Oakland PD and Cal Fire have not said that the fire is possibly arson.

Oakland PD said they arrested a suspect who allegedly brandished a gun after a crash. The crash happened near where the fire started at around 8 a.m. The suspect was arrested near campus shortly after the fire was sparked. However, police are not saying if the suspect has anything to do with the fire.

As of Thursday morning, the fire burned 20 acres and was 50 percent contained.

Grizzly Peak Boulevard is still closed between Centennial and South Park drives. The closure is expected to last until 8 p.m.

Firefighters are asking residents to continue to avoid the area.

Here is a statement from OPD:

On August 2, 2017, around 8:00 a.m., Oakland police officers were dispatched to a vehicle collision on Grizzly Peak Boulevard, about 1/3 mile west of the Fish Ranch Road intersection. On scene, responding officers learned that three (3) vehicles were involved with the incident and one of them fled the scene. During the incident, the driver of the vehicle that fled the scene, exited the vehicle, brandished a firearm at an involved vehicle, then returned to their vehicle and fled the scene. No involved parties of the collision on scene reported any injuries. Oakland police officers took the crime and collision reports then cleared the scene, returning to their patrol duties.

Shortly after 11:00 a.m., Oakland police officers were requested back to the area due to the report of the suspect returning to the scene. When officer’s arrived, the suspect was no longer on scene. Information led officers further west on Grizzly Peak Boulevard to the unoccupied suspect vehicle. Officers learned that the suspect fled from the vehicle towards the University of California Berkeley campus. Around 1:30 p.m., UC Berkeley Police Department advised that they arrested the suspect on their campus.

This is an ongoing investigation and anyone with information is advised to contact the Oakland Police Department Felony Assault Section at (510) 238-3426.

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