The Wildfire Prevention District helps prevent wildfires and the spread of fire in high risk areas of Oakland with a history of wildfires.
The Wildfire Prevention District was originally formed in response to the devastating fires of 1991 that killed 25 people and damaged or destroyed more than 3000 homes in the Oakland hills. Wildfire prevention services are essential to keep our homes safe from another disaster. The current District is scheduled to end in January, 2014. A measure to continue dedicated funding for these essential fire prevention services will be mailed to voters in the District boundaries this fall.
What does the Wildfire Prevention District do?
The District pays for services to prevent wildfires and prevent the spread of fire, including:
· Goat grazing to clear excess brush and weeds
· Maintaining firebreaks so fire cannot spread
· Fire patrols on high fire danger days
· Roadside mowing
· Dead tree removal
Brush cutting to clear emergency escape routes
Why are wildfire prevention services still needed?
In Oakland’s devastating fires of 1991, the fire
spread rapidly, even jumping Highway 24, due to trees, grass and brush that
had grown out of control, and roads and streets were blocked by dense
vegetation, making it difficult for fire trucks to maneuver. The
District funds one of Oakland’s most effective fire prevention strategies –
goat grazing to reduce fire fuel on grasslands. We need to continue the
efforts of this environmentally friendly, four-legged, weed control and fire
protection crew! It is important that there be secure funding to
remove brush and ensure firefighters can get to our homes in a fire.
Has the Wildfire Prevention District been effective?
The good work and stewardship of the Wildfire Prevention District has protected our neighborhoods from devastating fires. Since the establishment of the District, Oakland has not had a significant devastating fire in the hills, while other communities that don’t have a dedicated district have experienced large fires. This summer, there have already been terrible wildfires in other parts of California. We need to continue funding the district to prevent fires and protect our homes.
Local firefighters, the 1991 Firestorm survivors, community members and neighborhood associations, current and former members of the WPAD Advisory Board are leading the effort to continue wildfire prevention services. Many organizations such as International Association of Fire Fighters Local 55, the Diablo Fire Safe Council, and the Montclair Village Association have endorsed the measure as have many local neighborhood leaders. A full list of endorsers can be found at http://www.keepoakandfiresafe.org
What is covered in the District?
All funds raised will be spent in only in Oakland neighborhoods at high risk for wild fires. None of the funds can be taken by the City of Oakland for other needs. The District boundaries were established based on Department of Forestry wildfire risk zones and reflects the outline of the 1991 fire.
For the past 10 years, homeowners in the fire risk zone pay annually on their property taxes for wildfire prevention services. This measure will continue that annual fee at $78, for 10 years, with mandatory annual audits of the Wildfire Prevention District and citizen oversight of all spending.
The City Council has created the Wildfire Prevention District and the vote will be this November. This will be a mail ballot only, and only those voters who live in the current District boundaries (see map at http://www.keepoakandfiresafe.org) will vote. The measure requires a 2/3 yes vote.
How do we know that the money will be used properly?
The funds raised each year can ONLY be used for
service in the District. A citizens advisory oversight committee and annual
audits ensure ongoing monitoring. In addition, the City will issue an annual
plan to outline the schedule and methodology for fuel reduction informed by
a qualified biologist and district residents. The goal of the plans
will be to achieve long term and cost effective vegetation management to
achieve fire safety. All Advisory Committee meetings are open to the
public and reports are posted on the website at