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Bay Bridge reopens some eastbound lanes as crews contain fire on Yerba Buena Island

A fireboat near a cliff sprays a high-powered stream of water, dousing a smoky area among greenery next to a calm blue sea.
Firefighters battled an aggressive blaze on Yerba Buena Island on May 18, 2024, that prompted officials to shut all eastbound traffic on the Bay Bridge. | Source: Courtesy San Francisco Fire Department

Eastbound traffic across the Bay Bridge ground to a halt for a couple hours late Saturday afternoon as emergency crews battled a wildfire on Yerba Buena Island.

By 5 p.m., nearly two hours after the fire prompted the entire lower deck of the bridge to close, Caltrans reopened three of the five eastbound lanes, a California Highway Patrol spokesperson confirmed to The Standard.

Still, traffic was expected to be slow-going for hours to come.

“Anybody that needs to go across the bridge should wait or seek alternate routes,” San Francisco Fire Department spokesperson Capt. Justin Schorr advised.

Crews responded to the fire shortly after 3 p.m., he said, and were engaged in “an aggressive firefight” that lasted more than a couple hours.

“We’ve got about 40 firefighters on the island attempting to reach this fire in steep terrain and high winds,” he said around 3:40 p.m.

Fire boats from both San Francisco and Alameda County were also dispatched to the scene, Schorr added.

The lower deck of the bridge remained closed until firefighters determined that the blaze wasn’t threatening any structures, according to Schorr.

“If it makes it over the hill, it could threaten historic Coast Guard buildings,” he said before 4 p.m. “But we’re not going to let that happen.”

Drivers can find the latest traffic updates at

Jennifer Wadsworth can be reached at