For Immediate ReleasePress Contact: Dory Ehrlich, Office of Emergency Services, (510) 981-5506
LOCAL FIRE SEASON BEGINS
Help Maintain Safety by Following These Guidelines
Berkeley, California (Thursday, May 04, 2006) - The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Santa Clara Unit, plans to declare the start of fire season effective May 22, 2006. Due to the ever-present threat of wildfire during the summer and fall, residents are asked to establish “defensible space” around homes and structures by doing the following:
Clearing flammable vegetation around structures to a minimum of 30’ or to property line. Hillsides should be cleared 100’-200’ due to the speed of fire travel upslope.
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.
Berkeley Fire Code requires spark arrestors on all internal combustion engines used around flammable vegetation (mowers, chainsaws, weed eaters, motorcycles, etc.).
Always remember to mow before 10 a.m. Dry grass has the highest amount of moisture in the morning.
Hazardous fire area inspections are conducted annually by Berkeley Fire Department companies, between May and September. In addition, the Department conducts bi-annual fire hydrant inspections from April through June. During the inspections the Department checks operation of the hydrants and may flow water from some hydrants. The Department also clears landscaping that obstructs operation or conceals the hydrant. The Fire Code allows for removal of obstructions up to 3’ around a fire hydrant. While the fire companies will use care to only remove as much as is necessary, the visual impact can be extreme.
The 2006 Fire Fuel Chipper and Debris Bin Programs will begin on Monday, June 5, 2006 and end on Friday, September 22, 2006. The Berkeley Fire Department has also prepared a “Create Defendable Space to Protect Your Home from Wildfire” brochure and checklist to assist residents in maintaining their property. To request a free copy, or for more information, contact Dory Ehrlich at (510) 981-5506.