Policy

Living up to our commitment, by L. Tim Wallace

The Conservancy is busy on several fronts—living up to our commitment to be vigilant about wildfire safety while encouraging a healthy native environment in Claremont Canyon. Unfortunately, wildfire danger continues to be a major issue as fire season is becoming a year round concern. Public agencies are unable to devote the financial and human resources necessary to address it.

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. 

FEMA Grants Withdrawn, by L. Tim Wallace

You have probably heard by now that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has withdrawn $3.5 million in wild fire hazard mitigation grants previously awarded to the University of California and the City of Oakland.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.

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

In response to a request for public comment, the Conservancy has written a detailed, five plus page 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.

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. 

The Sierra Club corrects its record on its vegetation management strategy for the East Bay hills

Reprinted from the online Yodeler, September 16, 2015, with permission from the San Francisco Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club.  For a copy of their flyer prepared for members and the public, click here.

As we slog through our fourth year of drought and once again watch wildfires devastate communities all across California and the West, we must acknowledge that the hotter, drier conditions we face due to climate disruption are not going away.

Reduce the fire hazard, don't litigate, by L. Tim Wallace

After 10 years, FEMA finally has issued its Record of Decision (ROD) on grants to reduce the fire danger posed by the eucalyptus trees in Claremont Canyon and the East Bay Hills. The ROD is not ideal. The Claremont Canyon Conservancy would have preferred the original draft that enabled the three grant applicants (UC Berkeley, the City of Oakland and the Regional Park District) to use the funds as each saw fit, rather than requiring all three grantees to use a “unified approach.”

April 2014 fire in the canyon, by Joe Engbeck

April 2014 fire in the canyon, by Joe Engbeck

THE ALARM SOUNDED AT 11:21 am. A fire of unknown size and origin was burning in Claremont Canyon. The cell- phone caller who was first to alert the Oakland Fire Department, reported a lot of smoke in the upper canyon not far from the intersection of Claremont Avenue, Grizzly Peak Boulevard and Fish Ranch Road. It was Tuesday, January 21, 2014—well into the driest winter ever recorded in the East Bay.