Sunday, October 30, 2016, 4-6 PM
The Claremont Hotel Sonoma Room
Refreshments and wine bar from 4-4:30 PM
25th Anniversary of the 1991 Firestorm
Keynote Speaker: Jerry Kent, Retired Assistant General Manager of Park Operations, East Bay Regional Parks “Why the Oakland/Berkeley Hills Will Likely Burn Again”
Jerry Kent, more than any other individual, has studied the problem of fires in the hills and has led public discussions since 1991 on what might be done to mitigate fire dangers in an ecologically sound way. Jerry retired from his post in 2003 as Assistant General Manager of Operations for the East Bay Regional Park District but continues to work toward fire safety issues with an emphasis on ecological preservation.
According to Jerry, large fires were common before urban development when the hills were covered by grazed grassland, scattered oaks, and a few sheltered redwoods. Over the last century a dozen or so of these fires were serious, affecting farmers and urban dwellers. The most recent and most noteable was the 1991 Oakland Tunnel Fire, which covered 1,600 acres in a day and destroyed more than 3,000 homes and 2,000 automobiles. Twenty-five people lost their lives. After that horrific fire, federal, state, and local reports spun off 186 recommendations for a long list of agencies, and documented reasons why a Diablo wind fire in these canyons is near impossible to stop until the strong winds subside. However, many lessons were learned. They pointed to feasible steps that agencies and homeowners should be taking to reduce the risks of future wild res in the hills.Unfortunately, the 10-year FEMA process to facilitate wild fire hazard mitigation work in our open spaces and parks has not clari ed much for the public. Jerry will try to answer the questions: what work needs to be accomplished, by whom, and at what cost?
Please join us on October 30 for an enlightening presentation.