Sibley Triangle Wildfire Prevention Project

October 3, 2012

A eucalyptus-thinning project is expected to begin in October in the “Sibley Triangle,” a steeply sloped 45-acre area of the Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve in the Oakland-Berkeley hills.

The purpose of the project is to improve safety by reducing the potential for crown fires spreading upslope into residential areas above Thorndale Drive, or towards the ridgeline along Skyline Blvd.  This fuels management project is funded by Measure CC, and is jointly planned by East Bay Regional Park District and Oakland Fire Department.

With support from the Oakland Wildfire Prevention Assessment District, a public meeting to describe the project and answer questions was held May 17.

The acreage affected is on the slopes south of Skyline Boulevard and west of Thorndale Road. There are no trails in the triangle. Besides removing smaller trees on 13 acres of the site, the plan is to reduce brush and remove French broom adjacent to the road. The larger eucalyptus trees will remain. The resulting forest will be less dense and contain less fuel, and consequently will be less prone to high intensity fires.

The local Wildfire Prevention Assessment District Advisory Committee, in partnership with the two agencies, prioritized this high fire danger area for treatment to reduce the potential of wildfires that can cause damage, destruction, and loss of life, as occurred in the nearby Oakland Hills 1991 Firestorm.

The project is expected to take about 12 weeks, depending on weather conditions and contractor availability. To minimize disruption for neighbors and reduce inconvenience, contractor operations will generally be weekdays during daylight hours.

“This project enhances the effectiveness of defensible space work on neighboring private properties while protecting the natural and aesthetic values of the park lands,” said East Bay Regional Park District Fire Chief Ken Blonski. “Follow-up maintenance will be performed as needed to ensure the fire protection benefits remain effective over the long run.

The project is funded primarily by Measure CC funds, approved by voters in 2004. For more information on the project, visit www.ebparks.org/bids  or call (510) 690-6612.