Several acres of the Nature Area on the east side of Chavez Park went up in smoke and ended up a charred ruin Sunday afternoon due to careless fireworks amateurs — reportedly children — who set off a toy rocket there. What kind of parent would let their kid play with a flame-spewing rocket at all, much less in a parched grassland? Half a dozen City of Berkeley Fire Department trucks responded. Fire crews with tools and hoses probed the area for hot spots. This area harbors year-round homes of Black-tailed Jackrabbits, Gopher Snakes, and Ground Squirrels. The fire came within a few yards of the landfill gas flare station, but was stopped before that facility was damaged. This fire was one of several hundred reported in the larger Bay Area due to careless and illegal amateur fireworks users.
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