Berkeley Disaster and Fire Safety Commission Presents Protection Plan

The Disaster and Fire Safety Commission met for the first time on Wednesday to present a community wildfire protection plan, or CWPP, for the city of Berkeley.

During the second half of the meeting, Consulting Team Leader Carol Rice, along with team members Cheryl Miller and Esther Mandeno, introduced the CWPP, which is overseen by the Berkeley Fire Department. . The plan aims to identify and prioritize goals and projects to manage the dangers and risks posed by wildfires and better prepare the community.

“We’re going to share with you why a community protection plan is important,” Rice said during the meeting. “We’ll go over the steps needed to develop the Community Wildfire Protection Plan and (its) timeline so you know what to expect.”

The presentation detailed a three-step process involving community members, the fire department, the commission, and the Berkeley City Council.

The first phase is engagement—bringing interested parties together—while the second phase, assessment, is about existing conditions, risk assessment, recommendations, and priorities. The plan also outlines a basis for compiling projects to reduce wildfire risk. The third phase finalizes an action plan and discusses financing strategies for the project.

“At the end of the process, we hope to come to a common understanding of the existing conditions through both a community baseline map and a risk assessment,” Rice said during the meeting. “We will identify fire potential, when to protect and how to reduce risk. The city can use this information to identify and prioritize areas based on determined levels of risk. »

The plan will also include a base map of the community to present data such as fire hazard severity zones and opportunities to find information on existing conditions.

Funding for the plan is provided by Measure FF, a per-square-foot parcel tax on property improvements approved by Berkeley voters in 2020.

During public comment later in the meeting, concerns were raised about the potential fire hazard from eucalyptus trees surrounding the residences.

“The CWPP should focus on this, by far the most significant fire risk facing the city,” Berkeley Hillside Fire Safety Group President Henry DeNero said at the meeting.

DeNero also alleged that the group had asked the city to remove the trees in the past and now looks forward to enforcing the CWPP to continue its work.

The next meeting of the Disasters and Fire Safety Commission will take place on September 28.

Contact Maya Jiménez at [email protected]and follow her on Twitter at @mlj____.