HIGH WIND ADVISORY until 7 am Wednesday, January 27, 2021. FLASH FLOOD WATCH remains in effect from Tuesday afternoon through Thursday afternoon.
Oakland Firesafe Council

Efforts to increase affordable housing through zoning changes need to consider impact on emergency evacuations

The Oakland Firesafe Council recently sent a letter to our state legislators, as well as county and city elected officials, urging them to exempt zoned areas in the very high fire hazard severity zones from changes in single family zoning as a way to increase housing.

Elected officials at all levels need to recognize that increasing density in an area that is already at high risk for wildfire creates a serious legal and financial liability for cities, counties and the state, should a wildfire occur. Yes, there is a need for more affordable housing, but placing more people in areas that we already know are at high risk for wildfires is not a judicious—nor safe–move.

Therefore, we respectfully request that the bill include wording to exclude neighborhoods located in very high fire risk severity zones as designated by CalFire. Perhaps inserting the exclusion now written into SB 10:

• Shall not apply to parcels located within a very high fire hazard severity zone, as determined by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection pursuant to Section 51178, or within a high or very high fire hazard severity zone as indicated on maps adopted by the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection pursuant to Section 4202 of the Public Resources Code.

• Any modifications of single-family homes to multiple units, whether in the very high fire risk severity zone or not, would require review by the local Fire Marshal.

We work very hard to keep our residents engaged in creating defensible space, hardening their homes, and preparing for evacuations and we appreciate your consideration of our challenges.

For the full letter, click here:


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