From the Piedmont Fire Department on Aug. 8:
As the weather turns hotter and vegetation dries out, the Piedmont Fire Department urges residents to prepare their yards for fire season by trimming trees and shrubs, clearing flammable materials, and removing dead vegetation around their property.
The East Bay hills have seen significant wildfires in September and October multiple times in the last 150 years. Those events, and recent wildfires across California, have taught us that our communities are best protected when everyone takes steps to manage the vegetation around their homes, which helps to reduce the spread and severity of fires when they start.
Prepare your yard: prune plants and clear debris
You can do your part and increase your own home’s chance of surviving a wildfire by taking a few simple protective measures in your yard every year. Make time before Labor Day to prepare your property:
• Create space between plants and your home: Remove branches that hang over your roof or are within 10 feet of your chimney. Prune plants away from buildings. This buffer area will help protect your house and give firefighters an area to work in to defend your home during a fire.
• Create space between plants: Trim trees so the lowest branches are at least 6 feet from the ground, or three times the height of any shrubs beneath the tree. This helps prevent fire from moving from the ground to the treetops, where it can spread more quickly.
• Clear debris and flammable materials: Remove all dead plants, grass, and weeds around your yard. Clear leaves and pine needles from roofs, gutters, and the ground.
*Remove flammable materials, such as paint or propane containers from under decks and away from buildings.
• Trim plants of any dead or dying material: It’s important to keep all plants in your yard watered and well-maintained. Remove any dead or dying vegetation. If you have eucalyptus trees in your yard, remove any shedding bark or leaves.
Download a checklist for preparing your yard HERE.
If you need help identifying what needs to be done on your property, call the Fire Department at (510) 420-3030 to request an inspection. Our personnel are trained in best practices around vegetation management and will happily come help you make informed decisions about fire safe landscaping.
City staff work year-round to protect community from wildfires
Vegetation management, including annual tree trimming and using goats to clear growth on public lands, is only one part of the city’s ongoing work to prepare for wildfires.
Last November, the city conducted its first ever practical wildfire evacuation exercise, giving staff across all departments and the public a hands-on opportunity to rehearse their role in wildfire response. We’re currently updating our emergency operations procedures based on lessons learned from that experience.
Later this year, we will begin the process of updating our local hazard mitigation plan, which identifies long-term strategies to reduce the damage to our community from natural disasters like wildfires, earthquakes, and floods.
The Fire Department engages in public outreach around disaster preparedness year-round. In the coming months, education efforts will focus on wildfire evacuation and emergency alerting. If you’d like to get a head start on preparing your household, visit piedmont.ca.gov/wildfire for recommendations.
Find more information and links to additional resources on preparing your property for fire season HERE.
Contact the Fire Department at (510) 420-3030 with any questions.