We became aware of Firewise USA® through our fire prevention work as volunteers with the Friends of Joaquin Miller Park, and discussions with our committed fire professionals in the area like Sue Piper, Captain Chase Beckman and Doug Mosher helped us realize that it was critical that we take this step as a community to protect our homes and our families. We were fortunate to have Macy Cornell join the Oakland Firesafe Council to support the formation of Firewise USA® communities in the City (Firewise USA® for Oakland), and with her guidance we were able to successfully complete all of the necessary steps to become Oakland’s first Firewise USA® Recognized Community.
We chose a finite boundary that included our immediate neighborhood as well as the heavily forested hillside below Klamath Street and the end of Brunell, and had Oakland’s Acting Fire Marshall Felicia Wanzo-Bryan and OFD Inspector Adam Ball come to our neighborhood to meet with us and to review our work. The “Assessment Committee” took clipboards and pens and walked the neighborhood to complete a factual evaluation of the current state of our homes and yards. The data that we collected was assimilated to create a metrics-based profile of our Firewise USA® Community, and from this we developed a 3-Year Action Plan that we have begun executing. We will be tracking time spent and tasks completed, holding educational sessions, and performing fire prevention activities as individual homeowners and as a group.
Our goal over time is to create a more fire-resistant barrier at the Western edge of Woodminster to protect ourselves and the neighbors and parklands to the East. We hope to expand our Firewise USA® Community and/or add more Firewise USA® Communities in our area, and throughout Oakland, to protect us all when the next major wildfire hits.
Klamath-Brunell, Oakland’s First Firewise USA® Site