Oakland Fire Department Highlights Strategies to Keep Residents Safe & Prevent Fire Incidents

Date Posted: June 25th, 2021 @ 2:14 PM
Last Updated: June 25th, 2021 @ 2:29 PM

The Oakland Fire Department, in partnership with other City departments, is taking a range of actions to promote community safety and mitigate the use and impact of illegal fireworks as we approach the Fourth of July and what is expected to be another long fire season.

“The combination of extremely dry vegetation and the ongoing unlawful use of illegal fireworks in Oakland and neighboring cities is a serious concern for the Oakland Fire Department, residents, and our partner agencies in the region,” said Oakland Fire Chief Reginald Freeman. “Fireworks are illegal in Oakland, and the life safety risks and fire danger associated with using them are significant. We encourage all residents and visitors to think of the safety of themselves and our community when enjoying the Independence Day holiday. Your actions can save lives.”

In anticipation of an uptick in the use of fireworks in the coming weeks, the Fire Department’s Emergency Management Division will activate the Emergency Operations Center on July 4 to monitor citywide activity and emergency incidents.

In an effort to get illegal fireworks out of residential neighbors and prevent wildfires, the Oakland Fire Department has set up safe collection barrels at the following fire stations.

  • Station 1: 1603 Martin Luther King Jr. Way
  • Station 3: 1445 14th Street
  • Station 4: 1235 International Boulevard
  • Station 5: 934 34th Street
  • Station 18: 5008 Bancroft Avenue
  • Station 20: 1401 98th Avenue

The collection sites are for residents that want to surrender unused fireworks and also for OPD to drop off confiscated fireworks.

The Oakland police and fire departments filmed to a Public Service Announcement about the risks of fireworks and celebratory gunfire. Watch: https://vimeo.com/434779851.

Community Tips & Regional Partnership Leads to Confiscation of Fireworks: In May and June, the Oakland Police Department participated in two successful operations where arrests were made, and fireworks were seized and confiscated (see attached OPD press release). Locally, those caught with illegal fireworks can be cited and/or fined up to $10,000, plus imprisonment. To report sales or persons with large cache of fireworks call the Fireworks Tip Line at (510) 238-2373 or OPD Non-emergency number at (510) 777-3333.

Road Closures in the High Fire Hazard Severity Zone: The Fire and Police departments continue to work in partnership with neighboring jurisdictions on actions to mitigate fire risk in the Very High Fire Severity Zone and throughout the city during the July 4th holiday.

In response to significant regional concerns about fire safety and emergency vehicle access, Grizzly Peak Blvd between Skyline and Centennial Dr. will be closed to all thru automobile traffic along the following roads from 5:00am July 4th through 5:00am July 5th. Additionally, the following intersections will have electronic signage and personnel on hand to prevent thru traffic from entering:

  • Grizzly Peak / Centennial Dr
  • Grizzly Peak/ S Park Dr
  • Grizzly Peak/ Lomas Cantada
  • Grizzly Peak/ Claremont
  • Grizzly Peak/ Skyline

The City of Oakland is coordinating with the City of Berkeley, East Bay Regional Parks, UC Berkeley, Moraga/Orinda Fire, Alameda County, Cal Fire, and Caltrans regarding the closure.

‘Tis the Season: The Oakland Fire Operations Division transitioned to Enhanced Wildfire Response on May 3 this year due to the higher temperatures and extremely dry vegetation; approximately 10 days earlier than in 2020. This year is forecasted to be equally as bad as 2020 due to decreased precipitation this past winter and expected record setting temperatures.

A page on the City website has been created and we will be adding information on an ongoing basis related to promoting safety and preventing the illegal use of fireworks.

More Eyes & Ears on the Street: On July 3-4, OFD engine companies will do roving patrols in the neighborhoods around their stations, reporting illegal firework locations to Fire Dispatch (which relays the information to OPD dispatch). Additionally:

  • OFD will deploy extra staff and vehicles at Lake Merritt on July 4 in anticipation of large holiday weekend crowds.
  • OFD will deploy two additional specialty wildland apparatus on July 4th, and additional command staff.
  • OFD's Fire Prevention Bureau will deploy additional inspectors on July 3-4th to monitor firework hot spots and report from the field on illegal firework activity.

Inspection Time: Oakland Fire’s Annual Inspections of residential properties and city-owned parcels in the high fire hazard severity zone began in early June and will continue through the summer months until all parcels have been checked. Properties that are found to be non-compliant are re-inspected after 45 days from the first inspection. For a list of the compliance standards that Fire Inspectors and Engine Companies are checking for during vegetation inspection, visit this webpage. So far in 2021, approximately 9000 parcels have had an annual vegetation management inspection completed.

Have You HERD about the Goats?: The Fire Department annually deploys one of the largest goat herds in the state. Each year goats prove to be an valuable and cost effective fire prevention tool to remove dry vegetation in the hillsides across the city. Already this year, goats have cleared approximately 700 acres (See attached for the 2021 Goat Grazing Schedule). If you’re wondering what 3000 goats doing fire prevention work in Oakland hills sounds like, the wait is over: https://twitter.com/OaklandFireCA/status/1392932854057689088.

Vegetation and Fuels Management: The Fire Prevention Bureau contracts with a number of vendors this time of year to mitigate hazardous vegetation on city owned property and along roadways. In 2021 alone, contractors have done roadside clearing along 44 miles of roadway, and have already removed over 160 acres of dangerous vegetation.

Fire crews have also spent considerable time this year clearing and doing maintenance on our many fire trails to ensure fire crews and other first responders can safely and efficiently access hard to reach locations during emergencies.

Know Your Zone: On June 15, the City of Oakland and a countywide taskforce made up of fire, police and emergency management agencies, jointly announced the launch of the “Know your Zone” campaign to help residents and businesses be better prepared for the next evacuation or emergency, through an online platform called Zonehaven™.

The Zonehaven™ platform is designed to provide first responders and the public with simple, consistent, and immediate evacuation information. The new platform allows each agency to make decisions on when to evacuate and which zones to evacuate all while monitoring critical evacuation route traffic in real-time. Additionally, the platform is available in real-time for the public to see if their zone is being evacuated.

All Alameda County residents now live in a zone identified by a number. Businesses are located in zones, as well. Residents should record their zone number and review zone details before the next emergency to be better informed and able to quickly map their best path to safety. “Know Your Zone” helps residents clearly understand the areas under evacuation and allows them to follow incident progress for their zone.

Read more about Zonehaven here.

Media Contact

Michael Hunt
Chief of Staff