Fire fighters working to put out a fire at Congregation B'nai Shalom in Walnut Creek. (Photo/Courtesy Contra Costa County Fire Protection District)
Fire fighters working to put out a fire at Congregation B'nai Shalom in Walnut Creek. (Photo/Courtesy Contra Costa County Fire Protection District)

Brush fire caught early at Walnut Creek synagogue

A brush fire broke out on the property of Congregation B’nai Shalom in Walnut Creek around 6 p.m. June 7, the synagogue said.

The Sunday evening fire was contained to the hill behind the synagogue’s main building, with some property damage to a nearby cell tower, as well as an area with outdoor garden equipment, according to a community-wide email sent by president Tim Plattner. Contra Costa firefighters responded after a neighbor called.

“I want to thank the Contra Costa Fire Protection District for responding promptly and bringing the fire under control,” Plattner said in his email. “We owe them a huge debt of gratitude and I will be writing a letter to them saying exactly that.”

Plattner also thanked executive director Alyssa Faulkenberg, the synagogue’s office staff and the secretary/buildings and grounds chair Jim Solomon for deciding to preemptively remove overgrowth on the affected hill two weeks ago.

“If that hadn’t been done at the proper time, this could have been much worse,” Plattner said.

The synagogue has a yearly abatement program to clear away excess brush on its property, according to Faulkenberg. She said it is too early to determine total monetary damages from the fire.

“We’re happy the fire and damage was not more severe,” Faulkenberg said in an email to J.

According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), the 2020 wildfire season in the state is expected to be more active than usual in June. On June 6, firefighters battled a 135-acre fire in Contra Costa County, southwest of Concord.

Gabriel Greschler

Gabriel Greschler is a staff writer at J. You can reach him at gabriel@jweekly.com and follow him on Twitter @ggreschler.