Tom Klatt writes to Councilmember Susan Wengraf

Hi Susan:
I attended the 8/2/2017 fire Oakland Hills fire scene during operations today and observed conditions and took photos.  The City of Berkeley Fire responded, as did many other agencies. The fire would have threatened Berkeley, except that the winds were blowing onshore from the ocean.  Imagine if the winds were blowing down the canyon (off-shore), as we see during Diablo Wind condition days.  The most effective response came from helicopter water drops, taken from lake Anza, by EBRPD, Cal Fire and other attending helicopters.  Most of the firefighters stayed on Grizzly Peak, as the hills are too steep and littered with dead eucalyptus and pine fuel.
The area that burned was to have been cleared of the severely hazardous eucalyptus and Monterey pines, but FEMA withheld funds awarded to UC in order to avoid continued litigation with a small NIMBY group, after 12 years of environmental review. (Claremont Canyon, Strawberry Canyon, and Frowning Ridge grants).  This fire burned in the Frowning Ridge project area.
I hope you can bring this matter up with the City Council; I understand UC has filed suit to have the funds restored.
The University evacuated hill area buildings (Space Sciences Lab, Math Sciences Research Institute, as the fire threatened the High Voltage PG&E line that serve both UC and LBNL.  Had the fire been more extreme, our  2 biggest city employers would have been completely without power.  20,000 employees not working costs over $4M/hr.
I’ve attached photos from the scene. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Tom Klatt