RED FLAG WARNING from 11 pm Sunday through 8 pm Monday due to anticipated gusty offshore winds and low humidity. Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly. Sign up for AC Alert and know your Zonehaven Zone
Oakland Firesafe Council

The New Fire Demonstration Garden at Gateway

The New Fire Resistant Demonstration Garden at the Gateway Emergency Preparedness Exhibit CenterCreating Defensible Space

A new Fire Resistant Demonstration Garden provides  local residents with real examples of how to implement the Oakland’s requirements for defensible space, including types of plants appropriate to our climate and topography and types of mulches in situations common to residences in the Oakland hills.

Locating the demonstration garden at the Gateway Emergency Preparedness Exhibit Center builds on the center’s long history of providing practical information to help local residents better prepare themselves for wildfires and earthquakes that are known hazards in the Oakland and East Bay Hills. Created in 2003 by 1991 Oakland Hills’ Firestorm survivors, the Gateway Exhibit Center provides visitors with information on the history of earthquakes and firestorms in the Oakland Hills.

Using the Exhibit Center structure as an example of a home structure in the Oakland hills, the plan calls for three planting zones:

  • Zone 1 No Burn – using pebbles and low growing succulents planted from 0-5 feet from the structure

  • Zone 2 Defensible Space—well-pruned, maintained trees and shrubs and low flammable plants less than 2 feet in the area 5- 30 feet from the structure

  • Zone 3 Larger Lot Defensible Space—Well-pruned, maintained trees and shrubs spaced appropriately for the slope of the hill, ground fuels kept to no more than 4” in height 30 to 100 feet from the structure.

In addition to showcasing appropriate plants and mulch, new educational panels  help provide visitors with practical information about lowering the risk of a fire spreading from your garden to your home.

Download PDFs of the different panels here:Make Your Home More Fire Resistant

Creating Defensible Space

Maintenance and Spacing Are Key

Avoid These Flammable Plants

Be Aware On Hot, Dry, Windy Days

Make Your Home More Fire Resistant

Protecting Your Home

Surviving Earthquake and Fire

Fire and Earthquake in the East Bay Hills

Fire Hazard Areas in the East Bay Hills

Why 1991 Firestorm was so Devastating

Lessons Learned from the 1991 Firestorm

Prevention and Preparation are Key

Resources for More Information

The Oakland Firesafe Council offers docent-led tours of the demonstration garden as well as presentations to local home owner groups, garden clubs, CORE groups and others interested in learning more about living in the wildland urban interface of Oakland. Click here to schedule a presentation.

Please help us make this garden a reality. Click here to donate today.


Volunteers Needed to Keep the New Fire Resistant Demonstration Garden at Gateway Tidy!

If you have a spare hour or two, please contact Gordon Piper, Chair of the Oakland Landscape Committee, to join a small group of volunteers who try to keep up with the weeds in the garden. Opportunities to assist are at your convenience. Email him at or call him at 510 910-2969.