BERKELEY, Calif. (KRON) – One community in the East Bay is teaming up with their local fire department to try and stay ahead of a disastrous fire erupting in their neighborhood once again. It was nearly 31 years ago when the Tunnel Fire ignited in the Oakland-Berkeley hills, destroying thousands of homes and killing 25 people.
Now, residents are taking part in a new program to prevent further disaster.
“When I do community meetings, I say practice your evacuation route…. one by foot, one by car,” said Berkeley Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Revilla. “So if we have an emergency, people are not panicking.”
Firewise, a national community-based program, offers a structured plan for residents to follow in hopes of trying to avoid disasters like the 1991 firestorm that swept through the Oakland-Berkeley hills, killing 25 people and destroying more than 3,000 homes and apartments.
Revilla shared some of the Firewise steps. One of them is not having mulch close to your home.
Revilla says it is can spread a fire. He also shared a tip about how trees can best be trimmed to not cause a fire hazard.
“The limbs are shaped and not bending toward the house.”
Revilla says the department offers community meetings digging deeper into Firewise, tackling such issues as knowing your evacuation zone number.
KRON ON is streaming news live now
“One thing the community needs to realize is that they can do something positive to protect your property,” Revilla said.
He says temperatures typically rise in the fall, but with climate change, fire season is becoming year-round. That makes it more important than ever to embrace a program like Firewise.