For Immediate Release
Press Contact: David Orth, Deputy Fire Chief, (510) 981-5501

Any report of fires in hill areas will receive massive response

Berkeley, California (Tuesday, May 15, 2007) - The Berkeley Fire Department, along with all other Alameda and Contra Costa County fire departments and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), announced today that the 2007 fire season will officially start at noon, Wednesday, May 16. The start of fire season means any report of fires in the hill areas will receive a massive response from the Berkeley Fire Department and our neighboring fire departments.

This year’s fire conditions in the wildland have already demonstrated that this could be one of the worse fire seasons on record. The Berkeley Fire Department asks that everyone be extremely careful with fire or sources that can cause a fire. This includes smoking materials, BBQs, weed cutting equipment and vehicles. If you see a fire or the smoke from a fire, report it immediately by calling 911 from a land line phone, or 510-981-5911 from your cell phone. Be prepared to provide information on the fire's location. 

You can immediately improve your property’s fire safety by:

Clearing flammable vegetation and trees away from your house.

Removing tree limbs within 10’ of any chimneys or stovepipes.

Removing pine needles and leaves from roofs, eaves, roof valleys, and rain gutters.

Removing dead tree limbs overhanging structures.

Removing flammable material (like firewood) from under decks.

Placing your woodpile far away from your house.

Ensuring you place spark arrestors on all internal combustion engines used around flammable vegetation (mowers, chainsaws, weed eaters, motorcycle, etc).

Remembering to cut your grass regularly, and always before noon. Dry grass has the highest amount of moisture in the morning.