At its July meeting, the Oakland Firesafe Council approved moving forward with a review of Caltrans D4 Vegetation Management Plan, released in June, 2021. Our comments were released to Caltrans on August 30,2021:
We thank CalTrans for giving the Oakland Firesafe Council the opportunity to provide input on your D4 Vegetation Management Plan. We have focused on the highway 13/24 corridor.
As you will see in the accompanying document, we have major concerns:
- The D4 Vegetation Management Plan only addresses the 10 feet of roadside clearance from roadways, when there is a real threat from the high fuel loads on Caltrans properties that infiltrate Oakland’s WIldland Urban Interface, particularly in the 13/24 corridor. Oakland’s WUI is densely populated with houses amidst trees, shrubs and flammable vegetation.
- Caltrans’ vegetation management standards are not consistent with the CalFire recommendations for spacing of trees and shrubs on flat and sloped properties. This is increasingly important given the more voracious fires burning through the state, and the increased incidence of crown fires spreading fires more quickly and further.
- That even within the 10-foot defensible space zone around 13 and 24, Caltrans isn’t meeting its stated fuel management strategies– leaving dead limbs and trees, not removing flammable French broom, cotoneaster and pampas grass which grow in dense patches under flammable eucalyptus and Monterey Pines, which result in potential fire ladders should the area ignite.
We appreciate your review of our recommendations, and would welcome the opportunity to continue the discussion.