Evacuations ordered in wildfire near St. Mary's College

The Merrill Fire, burning in the hills of Moraga, has burned up to 70 acres early Thursday morning has forced evacuations of at least one neighborhood, according to police and fire officials.

Firefighters were able to stop forward progress and containment was at 50 percent. 

The fire was first reported at 12:54 a.m. near 46 Merrill Circle North and off Sanders Ranch Road, Contra Costa County Fire Protection 
District Fire Captain George Laing said. It is burning south of St. Mary's College but the university doesn't appear to be threatened at this time. However, firefighters said 140 structures are threatened.

Moraga police have issued evacuation orders for the Sanders Ranch neighborhood. Residents along Sanders Ranch Road, Merrill Drive and 
Harrington road should evacuate immediately to St. Monica's Church at 1001 Camino Pablo. The church had no power, however, and residents were showing up to stay in a darkened church. 

Residents are advised to only take essential items, only what you can carry with you, to lock windows/doors when leaving and to keep pets on 

 Anyone who can't leave their home without assistance is asked to call 911.