How Many Oakland Fires?

The correct answer would be thirteen fires, including the recent Hiller flare-up.

Montclarions and nearby Hills inhabitants have lived through some amazing fires. Yet homes have covered up the 1991 destruction, and newcomers arrive without memories.

Lest we forget, the Diablo Winds sparked some devastating fires in 1923, 1931, 1933, 1937, 1946, 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, 1991, 1995 and 2002.

Some fires were worse than others. The 1,000+ acre fires happened in 1931, 1933, 1946, 1960 and 1991. Of course, the ones wiping out the most homes took place in 1923 and 1991.

The fires will appear again – and maybe we are a bit smarter about controlling brush and trying to defend our homes against them.

The pleasures of Montclair living, right? We like our trees and beautiful vegetation, but it comes with some risk.

More info:  Compliance standardsHills fire historyOakland fire dept

Oakland’s Goats Prevent Fires

This morning, I noticed hundreds of goats hard at work.  They are quickly munching through brush and grasses – and getting rid of the tinder that spreads fires.  As you drive on Rt. 580, glance over to the hills near Knowland Park.  You can’t miss the munching workers!

These goats actively tour the area.  Last month, I spotted them on a field between Rts. 238 and 880.  I wondered when they would make their next appearance, and am glad they have returned.

According to the Governator, fire season is “all year” now.  Of course, the 800 fires raging through California are mind-blowing, and very early this year.

For the Oakland Hills, let’s hope the Hiller flare-up is our 2008 fire story.  We have to be realistic, though, about the continued risks from man-made and natural sparks.  Thus our goat workers are welcomed allies, beforehand.

Hiller Fire Photos, 2008

Nothing like a fire to support the first Red Flag Warning this season. In all seriousness, we are better prepared than in 1991 – and equally lucky we didn’t incur the wind god’s wrath last Thursday.

Joe Dougherty snapped a complete set of Hiller fire photos, including the fire crews and helicopter water drops. Here’s a preview of the fire, before it was controlled:

While the fire was around three acres – and extinguished quickly – it was very close to us. It’s time to pay attention to the brush around your homes, as this season could be a scorcher.

First Fire Warning Tonight

The National Weather Service has declared a “Red Flag Warning” tonight, due to very high winds. According to the Oakland Park Ranger, Kent McNab, this is the first fire warning of the season.

Between 9pm tonight and 6am tomorrow, all Oakland Hills residents should be a bit more careful. Simply put, please don’t start any outside fires – the embers could catch.

Within Oakland’s jurisdiction, Joaquin Miller Park will be closed to the public. No barbeques or even cigarettes are permitted during this alert. Welcome to summer in the hills.