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Wildfire District Inspections

Learn more about how and why the Fire Department conducts vegetation management fire safety inspections.

Call the Vegetation Management Unit

(510) 238-7388

Download the Vegetation Management Inspection Report

Download

Inspections

Vegetation Management Frequently Asked Questions (PDF)

Why Am I subject to inspection? Your property is located in a high fire hazard area. The Oakland Fire Department conducts approximately 25,000 public and private inspections annually in the high fire hazard area of the Oakland Hills. Inspections are mandated by City of Oakland Ordinance No. 13401 and the State of California. Inspections begin mid-May each year. Property owners are mailed reminder notifications regarding property upkeep expectations prior to the beginning of the inspections.

How do I know what is required by me as the property owner? The Oakland Fire Department provides a brochure, which describes according to the Oakland Fire Code tips and helpful information for passing an inspection, such as the removing tree limbs 6 feet from the ground, removing climbing vines and other corrective measures to remove potential fire hazards and protect your investment.

As a property owner, what is my responsibility? Property owners should plan to remove weeds, tall grass, brush, and tree limbs that pose a fire hazard. Upon inspection, homeowners will receive a Vegetation Management Inspection Report with the results of the inspection.

Where can I find information on how to meet the Fire Code requirements, and how to pass my inspection? Please follow this link, www.oaklandnet.com/wildfireprevention, and click on Compliance Standards.

Who will be inspecting my property? Inspections are conducted by either City of Oakland Fire Suppression District Inspectors or Oakland Fire Fighters.

Will I be charged for the first inspection? No, Property owners are not charged for the first inspection.

What happens If my property does not pass the initial inspection? Property owners who have not removed these hazards by the start of the inspection period will be found non-compliant and will be re-inspected 30 days from the date of the initial inspection.

How will I be notified of a re-inspection? A copy of the inspection report is left at the property location and a copy is mailed to the owner of record.

Is there a fee for a re-inspection and if so, how is it determined? In 2017, inspection fees will be charged as follows:

  • 1st Step - Annual Inspection – FREE
  • 2nd Step - Re-Inspection (after 30 days)
    • Non-compliant – Fee assessed
    • Compliant – Re-inspection fee is waived; no fee is assessed
  • 3rd Step - 2nd Re-Inspection (after 15 days)
    • Non-compliant – Fee assessed
    • Compliant – Fee assessed
  • 4th Step - for non-compliant properties: Hearing notice mailed certified with a scheduled hearing date with a ten (10) day time frame.
    • Parcel owner is required to appear to show evidence of abatement, or present reasons why abatement was not completed.
    • Per the Master Fee Schedule, there is an administrative fee charged
    • No evidence or valid reason of non-abatement, the property is selected for private property abatement and put out for competitive bid.
    • Competitive bid selected. Notice to proceed issued to contractor and cost of abatement billed or lien processed for the property.

What if I do not agree with an invoice I have received for a re-inspection fee/fees? The California Fire Code does provide the homeowner an appeal process. The Procedure to request an administrative hearing or appeal shall contain the following information:

  1. A brief statement setting forth the legal interest of the party or parties in the real property identified in the order, decision or determination made by the Fire Code Official;
  2. A brief statement in ordinary and concise language of that (those) specific order(s),decision(s) or determination(s) protested;
  3. A brief statement in ordinary and concise language, together with any material facts to support that contention that the intent of this code or the rules legally adopted hereunder have been incorrectly interpreted, the provisions of this code do not fully apply, or an equivalent method of protection or safety is proposed;
  4. The signature of the property owner, and his or her mailing address; and
  5. The verification (by declaration under penalty of perjury) of at least one person requesting a hearing as to the truth of the matters stated in the request for hearing. The written request for an administrative hearing or appeal with the accompanying fee shall be received by the Fire Code Official within fourteen (14) calendar days from the date of the service of such order, decision or determination of the Fire Code Official.
  6. Appeal requests can be mailed to: Fire Prevention Bureau ATTN: Appeals 250 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Suite 3341 Oakland, CA 94612

Compliance Standards

Please click on Defensible Space Guidelines for an updated review of vegetation management information for homeowners. Additionally, an extremely informative brochure is available from Fire Wise and others can be found on their website: http://www.firewise.org

  1. Maintain a 30-foot defensible space around all buildings/structures. - The grass needs to be cut 6 inches or less. PRUNE LOW HANGING BRANCHES TO A HEIGHT OF 6 TO 15 FEET (OR 1/3 HEIGHT FOR TREES UNDER 18 FEET) - REMOVE OR SEPARATE LIVE FLAMMABLE GROUND COVER AND SHRUBS - Climbing vines must be removed from trees and structures
  2. Additional defensible space outward to 100 feet from all buildings and surrounding, neighboring structures may be required depending on the property slope, fuel load and/or fuel type. - fuel load - amount of vegetation. - fuel type - type of vegetation. - property slope - steepness of property.
  3. Maintain a 10-foot minimum clearance next to the roadside; more may be required. - The roadside clearance may be extended more than 10 feet.
  4. Remove all portions of trees within 10 feet of chimney and/or stovepipe outlets IN ALL DIRECTIONS. - Property owners are responsible for maintaining trees year round.
  5. REMOVE ALL DEAD OR DYING TREES, BRANCHES, SHRUBS OR OTHER PLANTS ADJACENT TO OR OVERHANGING BUILDINGS. - TRIM TREES, BRANCHES AND SCHRUBS AWAY FROM ALL STRUCTURES.
  6. Maintain the roof of any structure free of leaves, needles, or other dead/dying wood. - Remove any leaves, needles, branches, or debris from the roof and/or gutters.
  7. Install a spark arrester on chimney and/or stovepipe outlets. - The spark arrester must be constructed of heavy wire mesh with OPENINGS BETWEEN 3/8 INCH AND ½ INCH.
  8. Provide street address numbers that are clearly visible from the roadside, minimum height: 4” IN CONTRASTING COLORS. - The address numbers should be posted on the house VISIBLE FROM THE STREET. - If the house sits back from the street, post the address at the beginning of the driveway and on the house
  9. Remove dead/dying vegetation from property. - Remove any and all dead/dying vegetation from the property - REMOVE DEAD OR DYING VEGETATION FROM PORCHES, DECKS, STAIRWAYS ETC.