Oakland, CA — In an ongoing effort to reduce the threat and devastating effects of wildfires in the Oakland hills, the Oakland Fire Department today released a Draft Vegetation Management Plan (VMP) for public review and comment. Relying on an adaptive management approach that acknowledges vegetation as a dynamic component to wildfire hazard, the VMP creates a framework for managing fuel loads and vegetation on City-owned properties and along roadways in the City’s Very High Wildfire Hazard Severity Zone. The goals, objectives, and recommendations identified in the plan are based on existing field conditions and the principles of vegetation management for fire hazard reduction.
“With wildfires posing an ongoing threat, we feel confident that the recommendations identified in the Draft Vegetation Management Plan will protect our community in a way that also reduces and avoids impacts to natural resources,” said Fire Chief Darin White. “The plan has been prepared with stakeholder input and aims to balance the need to protect lives and property with the need to maintain a thriving ecosystem in the East Bay hills.”
The VMP covers more than 1,900 acres and 300 miles of roadway in need of wildfire management. The Oakland Fire Code includes regulations for privately owned parcels, but inspections and other fire prevention activities on private property are not part of this project. Public review and comment on the VMP will be accepted for 30 days, from May 11
to June 11, 2018.
Comments can be submitted via email at: VMPcomments@oaklandvegmanagement.org,
or by mail at:
Horizon Water & Environment
Attn: Ken Schwarz
266 Grand Avenue, Suite 210
Oakland, CA 94610
In addition, the public is invited to attend a public meeting on May 23, 2018 (6:00 PM – 8:00 PM) at Oakland City Hall - 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza, Hearing Room 3, to learn more about the VMP and submit written comments to staff. The Draft VMP is subject to environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act, which will trigger additional opportunities for public review, comment, and meetings. Residents and interested stakeholders can sign-up to receive project updates and information about future public meetings.
The Oakland Fire Department monitors and maintains vegetation on City-owned land to reduce the risk of destructive wildfires. Fire prevention programs and services currently include vegetation inspections, periodic vegetation pruning and thinning, free chipping and debris removal, goat grazing, roving fire patrols and public education and outreach. In 2018, vegetation inspections will begin on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 and will be supported by a new inspection database system from Accela.
Since 1923, more than a dozen major wildfires have impacted the Oakland hills, resulting in extensive damage, economic harm and loss of life. Most of the Oakland hills fall within Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones, as designated by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and the area is characterized by hot and dry fall seasons, high winds, dense flammable vegetation, steep and varied terrain, hill slope development and limited accessibility for emergency responders.
For more information on the VMP and efforts to reduce wildfire risk in Oakland, visit the project website at: http://oaklandvegmanagement.org/. A hard copy of the Draft VMP can be viewed at Oakland’s Main Public Library, located at 125 14th Street, Oakland, CA 94612.
About the Oakland Fire Department The Oakland Fire Department is committed to providing the highest quality and level of courteous and responsive services to the residents of Oakland. The Department implements comprehensive strategies and training in fire prevention, fire suppression, emergency medical services and all risk mitigation, including: human-caused and natural disasters, emergency preparedness, 9-1-1 services and community-based fire services.
Angela Robinson Piñon