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City Manager's Office
City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Gil Dong, Deputy Fire Chief, (510) 981-5501

Record high temps trigger increased vigilance, resources for fire-prone hill areas

Berkeley, California (Monday, May 12, 2008) - The Berkeley Fire Department, along with all other Alameda and Contra Costa County fire departments and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), announced today that the 2008 fire season will officially start on Monday, May 12th. The start of fire season means any report of fires in the hill areas will receive additional resources automatically from neighboring fire departments, including Oakland, East Bay Regional Parks, and Alameda County Fire.

This year’s fire conditions indicate the fuel moistures are two months ahead of schedule caused by the second driest March and April.  Record high temperatures are projected for Wednesday through Friday in the Bay Area.

The Berkeley Fire Department asks that everyone be extremely careful with fire or sources that can cause a fire. This includes smoking materials, BBQs, weed cutting equipment and vehicles. If you see a fire or the smoke from a fire, report it immediately by calling 911 from a land line phone, or 510-981-5911 from your cell phone. Be prepared to provide information on the fire's location.

Residents can immediately improve their property’s fire safety by:

  • Clearing flammable vegetation and trees away from your house.
  • Removing tree limbs within 10’ of any chimneys or stovepipes.
  • Removing pine needles and leaves from roofs, eaves, roof valleys, and rain gutters.
  • Removing dead tree limbs overhanging structures.
  • Removing flammable material (like firewood) from under decks.
  • Placing your woodpile far away from your house.
  • Ensuring you place spark arrestors on all internal combustion engines used around flammable vegetation (mowers, chainsaws, weed eaters, motorcycle, etc).
  • Mowing your grass regularly, and always before noon. Dry grass has the highest amount of moisture in the morning.

Residents living in the highest fire risk areas can take advantage of the debris bin program which offers free pick-up of trimmed vegetation and limbs. For more information, download the debris bin program brochure here.


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