Wildland fire behavior is controlled by three factors: fuels, weather and topography. Because it is impractical to control the weather and topography around us, the only practical way to modify fire is by managing its fuel source. Fire fuel refers to anything that has the ability to burn and spread fire, like trees, shrubs and dried grass.
The East Bay Regional Park Fire Department uses several different methods to modify or reduce the amount or availability of wildland fuels for any fire that may occur. Ladder and surface fuels such as grass, brush, forest litter, and down logs and branches are modified or removed by hand crews, prescribed fire, mowing, weed-eating, masticating, or animal grazing. Dense tree stands are often thinned to remove some of the trees that typically contributes to fuel loading and to reduce the potential for wildfire to spread in the tree canopies.
For more information about different Fuels Management treatments see Fuels Management Techniques [PDF]
The EBRPD Fire Department follows the Wildfire Hazard Reduction and Resource Management Plan as a guiding tool for what fuel management approaches should be used throughout the East Bay Parks. The plan is consulted for strategies to implement the various types of fuels management processes. Because the execution of any project will affect the surrounding environment, the associated Environmental Impact Report (EIR) informs concerned parties about the anticipated effects of implementing the plan.
You can find both resources on the East Bay Hills Wildfire Hazard Reduction And Resource Management Plan and EIR page.
In compliance with the Plan and Environmental Impact Report, the District Fire Department creates an annual work plan of fuels treatment projects. The success of the projects depends largely on the collaborative work that is done with Park Stewardship, Park Operations, park supervisors, and other departments. Follow this link for more information about Our Partners.
The downloadable PDF available below, is a list of planned fuels management projects for 2018 that include tree removal, brush reduction, weed-eating, prescribed burning, and goat grazing.
Download: Coming soon
Visitors to the East Bay Regional Parks may encounter cattle, sheep or goats grazing on the grasslands. The District uses grazing animals as a practical and economic resource management tool. Grazing helps reduce fire hazards by controlling the amount and distribution of grasses and other potential fuel. Around urban settings, goats are often used in conjunction with human work crews and prescribed burns to create fuel breaks –a proactive effort to manage future wildfires.
The goat grazing calendar is only an estimate because of weather, fuel height, and park supervisors activity within the Park. We schedule in target dates to help manage the contract. We review each site for completion on the target date. Contractors receives payment for each site completed.
Request for proposals are a tool that allows the EBRPD to bring the expertise of vegetation management contractors to implementation of the District’s fuels management projects. The District states what it wants to accomplish, and prospective contractors propose how they would go about completing the job and the costs involved. Once the District has received proposals from interested contractors they, with the clearance from the EBRPD Board of Directors, select one or more that best meet(s) the needs, objectives, costs, and other factors to complete the fuels management project.
An important part of the fuels management process is the ongoing maintenance to ensure wildland fuel loads are kept to an acceptable level. Maintenance actions may be required one or more times each year, depending on amount of new vegetation that has grown since the previous treatment.