Everyone is required to stay home, except for essential needs. When out, protect yourself and those around you by wearing a face covering, staying 6 feet away from others, and washing your hands often. Learn more at cityofberkeley.info/covid19. City offices are closed to the public. Some services are available remotely.

The City of Berkeley Health Officer has ordered all residents to shelter at home, leaving only to receive or provide essential services, starting 12:01 am on Tuesday, March 17. See details of the Order, frequently asked questions, and recommendations from Berkeley Public Health at https://www.cityofberkeley.info/coronavirus.

City Council Live Stream: Please visit https://www.cityofberkeley.info/CalendarEventWebcastMain.aspx

ZAB Live Stream: Please visit http://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Zoning_Adjustment_Board_Meeting_-_Video_Stream.aspx.

The City of Berkeley web site is undergoing scheduled maintenance starting on Friday night, September 13 and ending on Saturday afternoon, September 14. During this time, most web pages should be available, but some resources may become unavailable for short periods of time.

Looking for a live stream of the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) meeting on 5/9/19, at 7:00pm? Please visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1UAnZ8kU8EWllREyOY7rwQ/. The normal viewing methods will not work this time due to a concurrent City Council Special Meeting at the same time.

Looking for a live stream of the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) meeting on 2/28/19, from 6:00 to 11:00 PM? Please visit http://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Zoning_Adjustment_Board_Meeting_-_Video_Stream.aspx. The normal viewing methods will not work this time due to a concurrent City Council Special Meeting at the same date and time.

PG&E is reporting a widespread outage affecting thousands of customers in Berkeley and many City buildings, including the Finance Customer Service Center and the Permit Service Center. Call respective City services for further details, or check the PG&E outage page. Power is expected to return by 12:45pm. Traffic lights that are not working should be treated as a four-way stop sign.

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Fire Department
Fire Department

Wildfire Readiness for Berkeley residents

Take control before a fire starts

Wildfires are now more frequent, destructive, and fast-moving than ever. Berkeley residents must change how we prepare and respond.

Protect yourself and your family. Sign up for emergency notifications. Make a household fire weather plan. Be ready to leave the hills when the Berkeley Fire Department proclaims Extreme Fire Weather due to forecasted low humidity and high winds.

Wildfire readiness
video series

Get prepared:

Stay informed

When fire threatens, information may change rapidly. Use these sources for the most up-to-date information from officials:

  • Zonehaven

    Bookmark community.zonehaven.com on your computer and phone. Look up your evacuation zone now and write it down.

    During a fire, emergency responders will use this portal to post real-time, zone-specific evacuation warnings and orders.

  • AC Alert

    Sign up all your devices with AC Alert, the mass notification system for Berkeley and Alameda County.

    For evacuation orders, evacuation warnings, and Extreme Fire Weather, we send AC Alert notifications over phone, text message, and email.

    For Red Flag Warning advisories, we send notifications via email only. Download the Everbridge app to get push notifications for all AC Alert messages, including Red Flag Warnings.

  • 1610 AM

    We broadcast emergency information and instructions by radio on 1610 AM.

    In an emergency, you can also monitor KQED 88.5 FM or KCBS 740 AM for updates.

Understand fire weather & warnings

Wildfire threat is closely tied to weather conditions. Officials will use the terms below to communicate current risk levels. Learn what they mean so you can take appropriate action to protect yourself.

For an in-depth explanation of these terms, watch our video about fire weather.

  • Red Flag Warning

    The National Weather Service declares a “Red Flag Warning” when low humidity and high winds combine for elevated fire risk.

    During a Red Flag Warning, keep your phone on and with you at all times, avoid any activities that could cause a spark, and be prepared to rapidly evacuate if necessary.

  • Extreme Fire Weather

    A Berkeley-specific designation. The Berkeley Fire Department declares “Extreme Fire Weather” when forecasted wind speeds and humidity levels during a Red Flag Warning would produce especially risky conditions in Berkeley.

    Fires that spread under Extreme Fire Weather conditions can quickly become catastrophic.

The Berkeley Fire Department recommends that residents make plans to leave the hills during periods of Extreme Fire Weather.

Extreme Fire Weather is far more rare than Red Flag Warnings - in 2020, Berkeley had 25 days of Red Flag Warnings and only 2 days of Extreme Fire Weather. Yet this narrow range of weather conditions is when the most destructive fires happen.

Chart showing that California's most destructive fires have ignited during what Berkeley calls extreme fire weather conditions

The 1991 Oakland/Berkeley Hills fire, as well as most of California’s recent firestorms, ignited when conditions were within Berkeley’s “Extreme Fire Weather” thresholds.

Fire evacuation

In the event of a fire, we will send evacuation notifications over AC Alert. You will get different types of alerts based on the current threat level in your evacuation zone:

  • Evacuation Warning: Sent to notify you of a known, active fire that potentially threatens your area.

    If you get an evacuation warning, get ready to evacuate on immediate notice. If you have children, pets, mobility issues, or any other factors that would make it hard to get out quickly on foot, you should leave when you get an evacuation warning.

    Note that in a fast-moving fire, there may not be time to issue a warning before an evacuation is ordered.

  • Evacuation Order: Sent when there is an immediate life safety threat in your area, such as an active wildfire.

    These are lawful orders, and everyone must leave immediately when an Evacuation Order is issued.

Make a fire weather plan

Fires are unpredictable and conditions can change rapidly. Make a plan with your household ahead of time for what you will do during fire weather.

Download our step-by-step guide to creating your household fire weather plan. Your plan will:

  • Identify your trigger for leaving the hills

    Will you wait to evacuate after fire starts, or will you leave during periods of heightened threat?

    If you live in Fire Zone 2 or 3 (the Berkeley hills) ,the Berkeley Fire Department recommends that you leave during Extreme Fire Weather, before a fire starts.

    Leaving early gives you the most control over how you will get down the hill and what you can bring. If you leave after a fire starts, you may not be able to get out with your car, so you must be prepared to evacuate on foot.

  • Decide where you will go

    Whether you plan to leave early or after a fire starts, think ahead of time about where you’ll stay. Talk to friends and family who you might be able to stay with, or consider putting aside money to stay in a hotel. Some Berkeley hotels offer special rates to residents during fire season.

    In an evacuation, we will set up mass care sites for those who have no place to go, but these will take time to set up and will rarely be your most comfortable option.

  • Identify evacuation routes

    Choose at least two routes by foot and two routes by car. For driving routes, focus on main roads that connect with major streets and highways. Bigger roads will have more space during an evacuation.

    If available, foot paths generally offer more direct walking routes downhill than City streets. Berkeley Path Wanderers sells a high quality, durable map that includes footpaths. Consider purchasing a copy for your go-bag and highlighting potential routes in advance.

For additional guidance, watch our video guide to making a household fire weather plan.

Be ready to evacuate

Leaving the hills during Extreme Fire Weather provides significant protection to you and your family. But it does not eliminate risk entirely. Fires can ignite and spread under normal conditions.

Berkeley residents, and hills residents especially, should always be ready to evacuate rapidly if needed:

  • Have a go-bag

    In an evacuation, you may have only moments to leave. Everyone in your home needs a “go-bag” with the items you need to safely evacuate, including a flashlight, map marked with evacuation routes, a whistle to signal for help, cash, and copies of important documents.

    Make sure your go-bag is light enough to carry if you have to leave your vehicle and evacuate on foot. Use our wildfire evacuation checklist as a guide to pack your go-bag.

  • Practice evacuating with your household

    Review your plan and practice your evacuation routes with your household. Carry your go-bag with you when you practice.

    Regular practice ensures everyone will know what to do in an emergency, when you must act quickly.

  • Stay alert during fire weather

    Keep your phone on and with you at all times during a Red Flag Warning. Put go-bags by the door and back into your driveway so it will be easier to get out quickly.

    Review your evacuation zone and your evacuation plans with your household.

Download our evacuation checklist and keep it in a prominent place in your home.

Tools & Resources

City of Berkeley resources

Berkeley Ready wildfire preparedness video series

CalFire & Ready.gov resources

  • Prepare your family (CalFire): Resources on preparedness targeted to the specific needs of seniors, people with disabilities, and families with young children.
  • ReadyKids: Wildfires (Ready.gov)

Recourses en Español

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Fire Department, 2100 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: fire@cityofberkeley.info Phone: (510) 981-3473
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903