OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — Caltrans announced in a press release Friday that it will shut down the homeless encampment on Wood Street. A large fire broke out at the encampment on Monday, filling the Oakland air with smoke.
The whole encampment will be closed by the first week of August, Caltrans said. It will close in phases beginning on July 20.
“Caltrans’ responsibility is to ensure the safety of the traveling public and to protect and maintain California’s highway infrastructure. The department is taking this action to address the increasingly serious safety risks to life, property and infrastructure at the encampment, including from the fire this week that prompted the closure of the MacArthur Maze,” Caltrans said.
There are nearly 200 people living at the encampment currently, Caltrans said. The City of Oakland and Alameda County are working with Caltrans to provide shelter beds for the residents. The city is building a 100-bed community cabin village at 26th Street and Wood Street with $4.7 million grant.
The two-alarm fire that ignited Monday caused lanes to be blocked on Interstates 880, 80 and 580. Oakland Fire Chief Reginald Freeman said “a little bit of everything” was burning, including cars, debris and RVs. Monday’s fire was the latest in a series of fires to break out at the massive encampment.