Wildfire Prevention More Important Than Ever at the Park District
The East Bay Regional Park District is a founding member of the Hills Emergency Forum and have worked side-by-side with our local jurisdictions and partners in completing fuel breaks, removing vegetation, and responding to fires on Park District and adjacent property. Highlights of work done in the East Bay Hills include:
The Park District Fire Department is committed to wildfire management and rapid response to fires. Our 50+ members, aided by a helicopter, monitor and fight wildfires, including water drops throughout the Bay Area. We use sophisticated monitoring equipment to evaluate weather and wildfire conditions and to determine park user restrictions based on the data. We also use crews, equipment, and cattle, sheep and goat grazing to thin and remove hazardous vegetation throughout the year. Fire Department Partners.
Fire Danger Restrictions are posted through park signage and notices on the website. At times there may be restrictions in the parks. Smoking is prohibited in ALL East Bay Regional Parks. For up to date restrictions see our Fire Danger and Weather page here. (hyperlink to Fire Danger and Weather page)
A comprehensive Fuels Management Plan was adopted in 2010. It highlights 3,000 acres in the East Bay Hills for fuels management treatment including hazardous fuel removal and tree thinning, especially of invasive eucalyptus. Through hand crews and equipment, the District has treated approximately 1,000 acres. The overall goal of the Fuels Management Plan is to create well-managed healthy forests removing overcrowded trees and debris. Strategic thinning of forests allows native species such as oaks, bays, and willows to grow which are less prone to wildfire spread.
Fire weather information is gathered from each of the Remote Automated Weather Stations (RAWS) and is translated into public notifications about the potential fire danger and threats to public safety. These fire danger notification signs can be found in many of the parks and display the current level of dangerous fire potential. For more information see our fire warning and weather page here.
Funding for East Bay Parks Fuels Management projects are through Measure CC and Measure FF which extended it, FEMA Grant for $5.7 million, and Park District General Funds.
Working Together to Protect Communities
We are members of the Hills Emergency Forum (HEF), a collaboration of fire departments and public governing agencies working together to assess, prevent/mitigate, prepare and respond to fires in the East Bay hills. In May 2018, we announced the start of fire season. We asked for your help to create defensible space around your home, understand fire conditions, and have an evacuation plan ready to go.
Fire season and wildland fires are never predictable, and since 2018 we have had some of the most catastrophic fire seasons in California’s history. With over 6,000 fires occurring in California this year, we are still in the middle of a very dangerous fire season. On August 4, 2018, a national disaster was declared in Northern California, due to the massive wildfires burning. In fact, a year-round fire season has become the "new normal" in California. The most severe months may still be ahead.
With our current dry conditions and seasonal Diablo winds, we must prepare for a large wildfire nearby. We need your help in creating defensible space around your home, preparing your family and pets for evacuation, and being especially diligent during extreme fire weather conditions. If you are a visitor to your nearby East Bay Regional Park, East Bay Municipal Utility District or UC Berkeley trails, know their rules during fire season.
Your local fire department websites and phone numbers are listed below. Your agency can provide you with more specific information on defensible space, evacuation routes, and other important information to stay prepared during wildfire season. Be Safe!
- Learn more on our Safety Tips page
Tree Dieback in the Parks
In 2020, Park District staff began to notice signs of decline and leaf loss in trees across a broad swath of East Bay parklands, most notably in the East Bay hills and northern shoreline parks. The principal species affected are eucalyptus species, Monterey pine, acacia, and some native trees and shrubs to a lesser extent. As of 2021, 1500 acres of sudden tree mortality has occurred on District lands. The likely cause is related to the several recent severe droughts with potential secondary cause of fungal infection and insect damage.
The East Bay Regional Parks Fire and Stewardship Departments are collaborating with other agencies and with CalFire to address a response to the dieback and die-offs. EBRPD continues to monitor the situation and is working to direct resources to mitigate the potential for increased fire risk as a result of the increase in dry and dead fuels. Staff has mapped the extent of the dieback areas and will continue to update this mapping as the effect of summer drought continues.
Download: Mapped Dieback Areas [PDF]
Climate Change Videos
Blue Green Toxic Algae - Climate Smart - Jun 6, 2017, 0m:31s
Wildlife Protection - Jun 6, 2017, 0m:31s
Green Transportation - Climate Smart - Jun 6, 2017, 0m:31s
The Shoreline - Jun 6, 2017, 0m:31s
Budgets and Ballot Measures
- 2021 Adopted Operating, Project and Program Budget [ Search for 'Wildfire' ] (506 pp.)
- Measure FF