Reducing Wildfire Risk
Since 1923, more than a dozen major wildfires have impacted the Oakland hills, resulting in extensive damage, economic harm, and loss of life. Most notably, the 1991 Oakland/Berkeley firestorm burned over 1,500 acres, destroyed more than 3,000 homes, caused the deaths of 25 people, and injured over 150 people.
Most of the Oakland hills fall within High or Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones (FHSZ), as designated by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. This means vegetation must be actively managed to reduce the threat and devastating effects of future wildfires.
The FHSZs in the Oakland hills include areas described as the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), which are 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. Microclimates across the Oakland hills create a varied landscape with many different fire risks. The City of Oakland is also designated by California’s Office of the State Fire Marshal as a Community at Risk of damage from wildfire.