Oakland residents prepare for early fire season

Bay Area

OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — In Oakland, people are preparing for an early fire season.

Residents say they’re doing what they can to protect their homes and neighborhoods.

This comes as the Oakland Fire Department says fuels have started to cure throughout the city and region, and crews are anticipating that we will begin seeing an increase in fire activity over the coming weeks.

Firefighters say now is the time to prepare for wildfire season but people who live here in the fire zone are already on it.

“We have our go bags ready and know our escape routes,” Aaron Bart said.

The route to get out of Bart’s neighborhood is a narrow windy road. His home is surrounded by mountainous terrain, deep in the Oakland hills.

“There have been a couple of scares last fire season, there were some small brushfires nearby,” Bart said.

Bart knows the risk of living in the wildland-urban interface, he bought his home years after the fatal 1991 tunnel fire in the Oakland and Berkeley hills that spread to homes.

Oakland firefighters are bracing for an early fire season, with recent changes in weather patterns causing drought conditions, wildland fire season will begin Monday, May 3.

Crews have been battling fires throughout the state and are anticipating another long fire season.

Bart and his neighbors work together to clear brush and any potential fuel.

“We do it as often as we can,” Bart said. “We try to be really responsible about it, you know at least a few times a year we do a major clearing where we cut the grass down and clear branches and we prune trees and make sure that everything is in compliance.”

The Oakland Fire Department plans to staff up and patrol neighborhoods 24 hours a day during Red Flag Warning events.

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