More than 100 Oakland residents tuned in on Zoom and Council Member Sheng Thao’s Facebook page for the Town Hall Meeting on Wildfire Prevention on  May 11) The meeting was sponsored by Councilmembers Kalb, Thao and Taylor and the Oakland Fire Department (OFD).

A few important takeaways:

  • Private property inspections for vacant properties and those who received 3rd and 4th inspection notices last year will begin on May 27.
  • Private property inspections for those who were found in compliance last year after the 1st or 2nd inspection will begin on or about June 15. Fire crews from the fire stations will once again be doing the initial inspections. Mr. Travis Hansen, the acting Vegetation Management Inspection Supervisor, presented an informative deck of photos that show what inspectors are looking for.
  • You can also view a 2019 Fire Department video on wildfire prevention and safety at https://vimeo.com/318630390
  • NOTE– NEW THIS YEAR is a new state fire code requirement to leave 10 feet between wooden fences and vegetation — both horizontally and vertically. OFD explained that they don’t expect people to remove the vegetation, but that it should be maintained, well irrigated and pruned back as much as possible without killing the shrub or tree. If you own a wooden fence, be aware of vegetation that might be growing into your neighbor’s yard.
  • As for the mailer that talked about fees for the second inspection, the OFD has responded to the public outcry by allowing those who did not pass the first inspection a 45-day period (instead of 30 days) in which to correct the noncompliant issues. They can send a photograph showing that they have corrected the issues before the 45 day period and thus avoid a second inspection.
  • (IMPORTANT – PLEASE NOTE THIS) OFD has already begun abatement on City properties– earlier than usual. They just finished goat grazing on Grizzly Peak and are now making their way down the hill from Parkwoods to Tunnel Road. A second group of goats are at King Estates. Roadside clearance is also underway.
  • Nick Luby, Chief of Operations for OFD, shared that this year is expected to be a higher risk than last year. Forecasters are saying that we should have a very hot summer with high wind events starting in the summer rather than the typical fall.

At any rate, keep the following contact information handy should you have questions:

Here’s the link to the full recoding of the 90- minute meeting view.

Here’s the link to Vegetation Management Supervisor Travis Hansen’s presentation about what inspectors look for when doing the annual inspection.