Frank Kelly, the resident lead, had this to share about the experience:
Our neighborhood was badly damaged in the 1991 Oakland Firestorm and is still home to several survivors. One of those survivors, Sue Piper, began creating a Firewise community for us but was delayed by the pandemic and then moved out of state. Attempts to continue her efforts were stymied by several early participants dropping out.
At a meeting to create a local Neighborhood Watch area it became apparent that there were still many neighbors interested in wildfire safety but who happened to live outside of the boundaries of Sue’s original Firewise community area.
A National Night Out gathering was used to publicize our Firewise efforts to everyone in the neighborhood and determine the overall level of interest. (Those who did not attend that gathering received personal solicitations.)
We eventually achieved a 40% neighbor participation rate and changed our Firewise community boundaries to allow all interested neighbors to participate. We also retained the adjacent Henry J. Kaiser Elementary School, which has been a wonderful partner. Our application was completed and submitted in December 2023 and approved in January 2024.
The whole process has been a great way for us to educate ourselves about our wildfire risks, learn practical ways to lessen them, and work together for a safer place to live.
The (NFPA) Firewise USA® recognition program was designed to help residents learn about wildfire risks and provide a self-directed, collaborative framework for neighbors to work together to reduce these risks by engaging in fuel reduction and home hardening activities.
Oakland Firesafe Council is encouraging Oakland neighborhood groups to join the growing network of more than 1,500 Firewise USA® sites from across the nation by taking ownership in preparing and protecting their homes and communities against the threat of wildfire. LEARN MORE