As you know, a four-alarm grass fire that began last night burned 10 acres of wildland in the Oakland hills, and was University of California, Berkeley, property. The campus is committed to preventing wildland fires in the hills, and below are listed some of UC Berkeley's key efforts:
* CSO Hill Patrol
This specially-trained group of between six and eight UC Berkeley students have spent many hours patrolling campus hill property to help prevent wildland fires. Their job, a popular assignment in the UC Police Department's Community Service Office (CSO), includes looking for fires, monitoring and managing hillside vegetation, scouting for and managing illegal campsites, and maintaining fire trails.
* Claremont Canyon Fire Fuel Mitigation Project
The university is performing a major clearance of almost four acres of eucalyptus in a particularly high-ignition-prone grove at the headslope of Claremont Canyon. The property, which belongs to the campus, is along the west side of Grizzly Peak Boulevard in the city of Oakland. The grove acts as a natural funnel to direct hot easterly Diablo winds westward and down through the dense chaparral of Claremont Canyon. Within the grove are scattered considerably less fire-prone 30-year-old redwoods and bays which will not be removed.
* Panoramic Hill Fuel Reduction Project
This summer, UC Berkeley continued its project to decrease the threat of significant property damage from wildfires by thinning the density of woody materials on UC Berkeley property east of campus in the Panoramic Hill area. When the 30-acre project is finished, approximately 840 of the 2,400 trees in the area will have been removed. Most are weak, diseased and dying non-native conifers that had been planted in the 1920s and 30s for teaching and research.
Already finished is a 10-acre area near the end of the Lower Jordan Fire Trail, where trees were pruned or cut into lengths of 24 feet or less.
* Hills Emergency Forum
UC Berkeley continues to participate in this consortium, which collects and disseminates information on East Bay fire hazards. Currently, Tom Klatt, the director of emergency planning for the UC Berkeley Police Department, is chair of the forum.