Tree thinning operations on 140 acres in East Bay Regional Park District‘s Anthony Chabot Family Campground, located east of Oakland and north of Castro Valley in Anthony Chabot Regional Park, begin Monday, January 30. Crews will begin with felling smaller trees (those 10” or less in diameter) on the steep slopes within the contract area.
“We need to reduce vegetation fuel volumes in the area around the campground to reduce the intensity of wildland fires and to enhance the existing fuel break, access, and evacuation routes,” said East Bay Regional Park District Fire Chief Ken Blonski.
To accommodate the fuels reduction project, the family campground and group camps in Anthony Chabot Regional Park will be closed during weekdays until May. The campgrounds will be open for use Fridays through Sundays.
The East Bay Regional Park District Fire Department uses a variety of methods to reduce the volume and continuity of hazardous wildland fuels, along fuel breaks in the East Bay Hills, and elsewhere within District parks.
“In conjunction with Stewardship resource specialists and Park Operations personnel, we thin and prune trees and shrubs, cut dried grass in heavily used areas and control invasive weeds. This work is accomplished by our own fire engine crews, tree and brush removal contractors, neighborhood conservation groups, goat grazing, prescribed fire, youth hand crews and CAL FIRE inmate labor, Said Blonski.
In 2010, after an extensive process involving diverse stakeholder groups, the East Bay Regional Park District adopted a Wildfire Hazard Reduction and Resource Management Plan. The plan enables the District to make informed, adaptive decisions about ongoing vegetation management based on benefits to public safety, environmental benefits, and available funding and cost effectiveness. The current work at Anthony Chabot Family Campground is part of the plan.
The District, since its creation in 1934, has been a major property owner in the East Bay Hills, and has long been concerned with the risks of uncontrolled wildfire, because it is a serious threat to public safety.