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Thank You, Oakland
Thank you, Oakland, for supporting Oakland Firesafe Council accomplishments this past year. Click here for more.
Homeowners in Wildland Urban Interface Struggle with Insurance coverage
Most people know they have credit scores that help determine whether they get a loan and what their interest rate will be. They probably don’t know that if they live in the West, they have a wildfire risk score that could influence whether they get homeowners or renters insurance and how much they will pay. more here from the San Francisco Chronicle of 12/15/19
Oakland Council Unanimously Passes Resolution Making Wildfire Prevention a City-wide Priority
On November 19, 2019, the Oakland City Council unanimously passed a resolution proposed by Council Members Sheng Thao (District 4) and Dan Kalb (District 1), and endorsed by the Oakland Firesafe Council and many other neighborhood organizations, designating Wildfire Prevention a top priority for the City of Oakland. The Resolution requires the City Administrator to report back to the Public Safety Committee in 180 days with the following information:
- The extent to which the strategies will involve multi-disciplinary and multi-agency teams in the development of pre-fire plans,
- What wildfire prevention plans will include such as home hardening, evacuation and other wildfire prevention strategies for both private and public properties, and public communication strategies, before, during and after a wildfire event, and
- The extent to which wildfire prevention will be addressed in the next updates to the City’s General Plan, Safety, Open Space, Hazard Mitigation Plans and other similar plans.
Many thanks to all who made this possible. Now the work begins….
OFSC Comments on Concerns about Latest Version of Vegetation Management Plan to Reduce Wildfire Risk and Upcoming Environmental Review
More than 30 neighborhood leaders and park stewards in Oakland’s wildland/urban interface signed a letter originated by the Oakland Firesafe Council registering concerns with this latest draft of the Vegetation Management Plan. “Our biggest concern is that the document uses a standard forestry approach to managing vegetation that doesn’t appear to have been tailored to Oakland’s unique topographic, vegetative and weather conditions. The standard fuel models referenced in the VMP only model surface fuels, not crown fires or wildfire/house fire combinations. The forestry model is inappropriate to an urban/wildland interface where residential structures with inhabitants close together add fuel and higher risk to the situation. Click here to read the November 27, 2019 letter.
Click here to review the plan https://oaklandvegmanagement.org/#documents.
The Oakland Fire Department manages vegetation on CITY-OWNED property in the Oakland hills to reduce the risk of devastating wildfires. Most of the Oakland the hills fall within the state’s High or Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones as designated by Cal-Fire. The draft Vegetation Management Plan will serve as the scope for the Environmental Impact Review (EIR), so your comments are critical so that they can be incorporated into the specifications for the EIR. A video, power point presentation and several fact sheets are available at https://oaklandvegmanagement.org/#documents.
Sign up to receive project updates by signing up on the website to receive project notifications by email.contact us/VegManagement.
MAIL: 150 Frank Ogawa Plaza, Suite 3354, Oakland, CA 94612, ATTN: Oakland Vegetation Management Plan
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OFSC Launches Oakland CPR– Disaster Preparedness and Response workshops across the Oakland Hills
The Oakland Community Preparedness and Readiness Program (CPR) workshops are intended to educate and assist Hill’s residents, businesses and other stakeholders on:
- creating organized neighborhoods
- establishing Firewise USA certified neighborhoods that could improve insurability
- receiving CORE and Neighborhood Watch training and certification
- understanding evacuation procedures, best practices and potential routes
- establishing local emergency supplies and shelters
- establishing and practicing emergency radio communications
To join the small team planning these efforts, or for additional information, please contact us at Doug Mosher, OCPR Program Manager.
Ways to prepare for Public Safety Power Outages and Defensible Space
- 11 Ways to Tide You Over During a Power Outage
- Click here for a practical video on Oakland’s Defensible Space Requirements
- Click here for copies of the presentations from May 4, 2019 Fire Safety Forum sponsored by Councilmember Sheng Thao and Oakland Firesafe Council
- Click here to find out how to receive an on-line report on your most recent annual Defensible Space Inspection.
New Study reveals Targeted Outreach and Strict Enforcement Improves Compliance with Local Inspections for Wildfire Prevention
Our 2019 Defensible Space Study found that wildfire defensible space inspection programs achieving high compliance rates share five key characteristics:
- Strict enforcement of compliance through eventual use of abatement authority to abate non-compliant properties;
- Cost recovery of abatement and associated administrative fees from property owners;
- Property owner outreach and education to achieve voluntary compliance;
- Pairing annual inspections with public complaints to help identify non-compliant properties; and
- Provision of complementary programs, such as chipping, when appropriate.
Recent California Fires Spur Wider Discussion: Ember Awareness
At a recent Northwestern California Community Wildfire Resiliency Gathering, representatives from Firesafe Councils and other groups learned that between 90% and 95% of homes destroyed in the recent Tubbs and Campfires were due to houses catching on fire from embers, not from itself. Defensible Space means more than just vegetation management. Learn more here.
OFSC joined the Claremont Canyon Conservancy in an hour-long discussion and tour of Claremont Canyon on October 3 with 15 legislative analysts from Capitol Impact. We shared our thoughts on lessons learned from the 1991 Firestorm and suggested ways in which the State might produce legislation that would strengthen wildfire prevention for Local Resource Areas (LRAs) such as Oakland. Among our recommendations was the formation of a regional Wildfire Prevention District for Alameda and Contra Costa Counties that would provide standards, consistency and coordinated implementation of wildfire prevention efforts–for fire knows no city boundaries. See our power point presentation here.
The Butte County “Camp Fire” – observations from the scene of California’s deadliest wildfire The NFPA Xchange, Michele Steinberg, January 28, 2019
A million California buildings face wildfire risk.’Extraordinary steps’ are needed to protect them. The Los Angeles Times, December 18, 2018
U.S. Forest Service ecologist says mega wildfires require more than suppression, urging 3-step solution, The Spokesman Review, October 28, 2018
Disaster Guide San Francisco Chronicle, October 7, 2018
The Social Costs of Living in Wildfire-Prone Areas East Bay Express August 21. 2018
Should development be extinguished on California’s fire-prone hills? Reveal News, July 3, 2018
After deadly Carr Fire, a question of how — and whether — to rebuild 1,000 homes
San Francisco Chronicle August 25 2018
Oakland Firesafe Council Endorses Concept of a Regional Wildfire Prevention Management Agency for Alameda and Contra Costa Counties
At its November 17, 2018 meeting, the Oakland Firesafe Council approved a resolution as follows:
We support the idea of a regional wildfire prevention management agency for Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Such an agency with jurisdiction over both public and private land would be adequately funded and staffed with a science-based plan of action and the authority to implement the plan. OFSC joins other local organizations concerned with prevention wildfires in this effort. For additional information, contact Jon Kaufman at email@example.com. Click here for details: Wildland Fire Prevention
Park Like Someone’s Life Depends on it
Whether high fire season or rainy winter, first responders need to be able to respond to emergencies quickly. We remind residents who live on narrow streets to “Park Like Someone’s Life Depends on it”. Use your garage or driveway. If you cannot, then park away from turns in the road and leave at least 14 feet so that first responders can pass. http://www.eastbaytimes.com/2017/08/30/tempers-flare-over-oakland-hills-road-access-fire-danger-concerns/
Download a pdf of a handy flyer that neighbors can leave on the windshield of parked cars that do not provide sufficient clearance. You can also call the Oakland Department of Transportation’s Parking Enforcement Unit at 510 238-3099 for enforcement support.