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20th Anniversary of the 1991 Berkeley-Oakland Hills Firestorm:
Honor and Prepare for a Fire-Safe Future

The Cities of Berkeley and Oakland have joined with other community partners to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the Berkeley-Oakland Hills Firestorm. The fire burned for three long days, killed 25 people, and destroyed 3,354 homes-- 63 of which were in Berkeley. Residents and City workers alike have not forgotten the devastation, or how emergency crews came from all over the state to help fight the fire and keep it from spreading to other residential neighborhoods. Memories of that fire are still present in the work the City does every day. (Visit the "20 Years of Changes" page for more detail.)

Come bring your friends and family to the Family Preparedness Fair at Lake Temescal on Saturday, October 22, noon - 4 p.m. The Family Preparedness Fair has something for everyone: Fire trucks from several agencies, face-painting, live entertainment for the kids, bouncy houses, hot dogs and ice cream, and lots of emergency supplies to purchase, or even better, to win!

And if you can't make it, please go to one of the other events listed below or visit for information on preparing your family, business, home and pets for any disaster.above ground water system

Saturday, October 22, 2011 - Download the flyer here (PDF)

9 a.m.: Reflection at the Rockridge BART Station Firestorm Tile Wall 

10:30 a.m.: Formal Commemorative Ceremony of Remembrance

            Gateway Emergency Preparedness Exhibit Center 
            Tunnel Road & Caldecott Lane 
            Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates and Fire Chief Debra Pryor to speak

Noon: Family Preparedness Fair-- Something for Everyone!

            Lake Temescal, Oakland
            6500 Broadway in Oakland (north entrance) 

The Family Preparedness Fair has something for everyone: Fire trucks from several agencies, face-painting, live entertainment for the kids, bouncy houses, barbeque and ice cream booths, and lots of emergency supplies to purchase, or even better, win!

10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Disaster Preparedness Workshop

King Middle School
1781 Rose St., Berkeley

The public is invited to attend an informative event that brings officials from the City of Berkeley's Fire Department and Public Health Division together with Alameda County officials to discuss the various roles that are played in local and regional disasters. 
For more information about the event, please call (510) 272-6618 or visit:

October 11, 2011 - February 5, 2012

1991: Oakland-Berkeley Fire Aftermath. Photographs by Richard Misrach

            Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive

In October 1991, immediately following a catastrophic firestorm that struck the Oakland and Berkeley hills, renowned Bay Area photographer Richard Misrach ventured into the fire zone armed with his eight-by-ten-inch view camera. Working alone amidst the ruins, he roamed devastated neighborhoods, recording stark vistas and intimate details of destroyed homes. The resulting images are distinguished by Misrach’s masterful framing of his subjects: the compositions are dramatic without being sensational and incisively reveal a world transformed.

BAM/PFA events include:

Sunday, October 30, 3 p.m.: Louise Mozingo and Richard Walker in Conversation
Included with museum admission
In the first of several public conversations inspired by the exhibition, UC Berkeley professors Louise Mozingo (Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning) and Richard Walker (Geography) consider the social-historical, economic, ecological, and environmental contexts of the 1991 Oakland-Berkeley fire.

Sunday, November 13, 3 p.m.: 1991: Tell Your Stories
Free admission to all!
Share your memories amidst Richard Misrach’s compelling exhibition. The galleries will be open with no admission charge beginning at 2:00 p.m.

Sunday, December 4, 3 p.m.: Paul Groth and John King in Conversation
Included with museum admission
Continuing our series of public conversations, UC Berkeley professor of geography and architecture Paul Groth and San Francisco Chronicle writer John King take up a range of ideas about the possibilities and limits of urban architecture, including the ultimate urban dilemma—natural disaster in a metropolitan environment.

Other anniversary events can be found at

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