Know your neighbors, create defensible space, a disaster plan, insurance, by Sue Piper

"My Word," reprinted from East Bay with permission from Sue Piper.

"Take action like your life and those of your loved ones depend on it. "  This is not just to be sure that Oakland residents living in the hills won’t have to flee for their lives when the next firestorm hits — as it surely will, given five years of California drought, the growing numbers of dead and dying trees, and the unusual topography of the Caldecott Tunnel that leads to small fires every year and major wildfires every 20 years.

Homeowners are key to preventing wildfire losses, by Dr. Robert Sieben

It’s Time to Wake Up and Get Real About Wildfire Risk

We are experiencing a perfect storm as record heat, drought, massive numbers of dead trees, and dying forests are leading to the spread of wildfires like we have never seen before throughout the western United States and Canada. Instead of naively thinking your homeowner’s insurance is going to make up for the trauma of losing your home, or that overwhelmed firefighters are going to be able to save it, it’s time you woke up and got real. 

Building trails in Claremont Canyon, by Jon Kaufman

Through its stewardship program, the Claremont Canyon Conservancy has been building and maintaining fire trails in upper Claremont Canyon. Working with the landowners, in this case the University of California, our volunteers have improved the fire trail from Signpost 29 to Four Corners and named it the Summit House Trail (after the old inn that once stood at the top of the canyon).

FEMA Grants Withdrawn, by L. Tim Wallace

You have probably heard by now that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has withdrawn $3.5 million in wild fire hazard mitigation grants previously awarded to the University of California and the City of Oakland. As a result, both agencies will be postponing much needed vegetation management programs in their parks and open spaces throughout the Oakland Hills, including in Claremont Canyon.

Screening of the movie “Bring Back the Oaks,” by Janis Bankoff

On June 6, 2016, at Hiller Highlands Country Club, the Conservancy hosted the premier screening of the film “Bring Back the Oaks: Managing vegetation to reduce fire risk in the East Bay Hills.” Inspired by the controversy surrounding the FEMA grants for wildfire hazard mitigation, and in an effort to address public concerns, the making of the film was co-sponsored by the Sierra Club and the Conservancy, with a grant from the Sustainability, Parks, Recycling and Wildlife Legal Defense Fund.

An Invitation to burn, by Tamia Marg

An Invitation to burn, by Tamia Marg

The Claremont Canyon landscape and its uses have changed dramatically over the last century. From the 1800's through the first few decades of the 20th century, the East Bay hills were primarily grasslands with trees and brush growing only in canyon draws. Much of Gwin Canyon, a tributary on the south side of Claremont Canyon, was planted with Monterey Pines (Pinus radiata), a widely established practice in the hills to beautify the land for housing developments in the early Twentieth Century. That these trees were fast-growing tinder in the landscape became evident after every subsequent hill wildfire.

Conservancy letter supports UC's fire plan addendum, by Jon Kaufman

In response to a request for public comment, the Conservancy has written a detailed letter in support of the University's plan to implement its grant from FEMA to make the hills above our homes more fire safe. The plan is extremely detailed and addresses all the concerns that have been raised during the years long federal environmental review process

President's Message: Oakland steps up to the plate, by L. Tim Wallace

I can now say with confidence that all three FEMA-funded grants—Oakland’s, the Park District’s and UC’s—are set to move forward. Thanks to excellent media coverage, the public is now better informed about the need for wildfire prevention projects and better understands the responsibility that comes with providing a safer environment for all.