What Should Homeowners In The Canyon Be Doing?
Creating and maintaining defensible space is one of the most important ways to protect your home from wildfire. Defensible space will improve the chance that an ember resistant house will survive on its own and greatly improve the odds that firefighters will attempt to defend your home. Defensible space can be a designed landscape of maintained native plants surrounding your home with fuel management of up to 100 feet as required by state law or by city code. For further details see www.fire.ca.gov and search for General Guidelines for Creating Defensible Space.
Preparing your home to resist burning embers is the next most important thing to do. Current building codes are creating more fire-safe homes and communities, but all structures are vulnerable to wildfire and many older structures are especially vulnerable to fire. All of Claremont Canyon is a high fire-risk area, and some homes need to be retrofitted ASAP. Embers can travel a mile or more and ignite a home surrounded by 200 feet of green landscape. For further information see http://groups.ucanr.org/HWMG for a Homeowner's Wildfire Mitigation Guide prepared by the University of California.
The basic facts supporting quick evacuation during fires are simple. Staying behind in a major wildfire is serious business and must not be attempted when the order to evacuate is given. Evacuation is essential to saving lives. Homeowners insurance is essential for those who choose to live near our beautiful Canyon. For further information see the Red Cross website (www.redcross.org) and search for wildfire preparation and evacuation.
What Should Agencies That Own Land In The Canyon Be Doing?
Claremont Canyon Conservancy Board Recommendations for Public Landholders from the Board of Directors, May 7, 2009
Improving fire safety in Claremont Canyon requires the efforts of all landholders. We recommend the following:
East Bay Municipal Utility District
• Complete the EBMUD portion of the Grizzly Peak Boulevard ridgetop fuel break.
• Address the risks created by eucalyptus trees overhanging a powerline between Grizzly Peak Boulevard and the ridgetop.
East Bay Regional Park District
•Complete and maintain the fuelbreak along the residential edge of Gwin Canyon.
• Create and maintain a fuelbreak behind residences along the north side of Claremont Avenue and in the shrubland east of the eucalyptus grove above the Clark Kerr Campus.
• Determine in its Measure CC Plan and EIR whether or not the Stonewall eucalyptus grove will aid or hinder firefighters in stopping a wildfire that might come down through the Canyon before it can ignite residential areas along the Canyon bottom.
University of California
• Continue its efforts to remove all of the eucalyptus trees on its property in Claremont Canyon.
Pacific Gas and Electric
• Consider undergrounding powerlines along the Claremont Avenue and Grizzly Peak Boulevard corridors in Claremont Canyon and on certain narrow roads in the urban wildland interface with limited ingress/egress.
• Eliminate the potential for eucalyptus and pine on their lands to produce dramatic flame fronts and throw embers that could quickly overcome firefighters and significantly reduce evacuation time for homeowners.
• Develop effective strategies for removing and controlling the increasingly aggressive French broom that is invading several spots in the Canyon.