The Oakland Hills Firestorm – 20 Years Later: Our Story

The Oakland Hills Firestorm – 20 Years Later: Our Story

1991 Firestorm Banner

General Manager's Introduction

Anniversaries are occasions for looking both to the past and the future: to the past to acknowledge previous achievements, to the future for re-dedication to the hard work that made them possible and will assure continuing success.

With this publication, the East Bay Regional Park District acknowledges the valor and professionalism of all District employees who were involved with the disastrous Oakland Hills Fire in October of 1991, either by directly fighting it, working in support and logistics, assisting residents who lost homes and loved ones, or dealing with the myriad administrative challenges of post-fire recovery. We also salute the firefighters and other staff in Oakland, Berkeley, and the dozens of other jurisdictions, who joined to battle California's worst urban wildfire.

For the future, the Park District pledges continued dedication to a well-trained, professional fire department, working in concert with other public agencies to save lives and property.

And in cooperation with other agencies we also pledge commitment to the cause of fire prevention in the East Bay Hills. The District's approval in 2010 of its fire hazard mitigation plan shows that our commitment is genuine. There is no guarantee that the East Bay Hills will not face another devastating fire. But the Park District and the other agencies with responsibility for fire safety along the urban/wildland boundary have worked together since 1991 to be far better prepared. We vow to continue this cooperative effort.

Thanks again to the staffs of the Park District, the cities, the special districts and the state, who faced the ultimate firefighting test in 1991.

Robert Doyle  General Manager  East Bay Regional Park District

Special thanks to:

Tim Anderson, EBRPD -  Assistant General Manager For Public Safety (Retired)
Tim August, EBRPD -  Fire Captain (Retired)
Brian Cordeiro, EBRPD -  Fire Captain
Dennis Rein, EBRPD -  Fire Chief (Retired)
Bill Nichols, EBRPD - Martinez/Carquinez Park Supervisor
Di Rosario, EBRPD - Redwood Park Supervisor (Retired)
Eric Nurse, EBRPD - Aquatics Field Supervisor
Frances Heath, EBRPD - Temescal Park Supervisor (Retired)
Jeff Wilson, EBRPD -  Chief of Park Operations
Jerry Kent, EBRPD -  Assistant General Manager for Operations And Interpretation (Retired)
Jon King, EBRPD -  Police Lieutenant
Kevin Goe, EBRPD -  Carpenter
Mark Ragatz, EBRPD -  Parkland Unit Manager
Peter Sarna, EBRPD -  Assistant General Manager for Public Safety (Retired)
Anne Scheer
Bea Soria
Don Goodenow
Jack Kenny


The Oakland Hills Firestorm - 20 Years Later Booklet 2011 (PDF)

The Oakland Hills Firestorm – 20 Years Later: Our Story  (Web version)


Frances Heath

Mark and Jerry

Bea Soria

Bill Nichols

Janet Gomes

Warren Schultz

Dave "Doc Quack" Riensche

The Scorched Pickup

We Lost Our Homes


Email your stories to:pubaffs@ebparks.org