The Hills Conservation Network has published a new petition addressed to the mayor and city council members of the City of Oakland:
“To Mayor Libby Schaaf and all members of the Oakland City Council:
We request you stand up for the community, the environment, the trees and all the animals who live in the urban forest. Clear-cutting pine, eucalyptus and acacia and then dousing the hills with a decade of TOXIC herbicides is a bad idea. Species neutral fire prevention, backed by good science that focuses on ground fuels is where FEMA money should go”
That petition is available HERE.
This is a very astute comment by a recent signer of the petition:
“I work with a recently retired fire chief and spoke at length with him about this tree cutting plan. He has decades of experience with urban, suburban and forest/wildland fires. He was clear that cutting the trees WILL INCREASE the fire hazard because ALL wildland fires START in dry grass/underbrush, not in trees. Fires spread to trees ONLY when they are allowed to get out of control. This is not a new concept. That is why the underbrush is cut in forests.
I lived in Montclair during the firestorm. Those of us here then know the real reasons the fire got out of control: A) The original small GRASS fire was not fully put out or watched; B) many hoses could not be hooked up so there was NO water in a number of places; C) they fought it house to house rather than setting – as they did days later- a perimeter to stop it; D) there were NO evacuation orders; E) the streets are narrow and in many places the fire trucks could not get through because of the parked cars.
After the fire there were specific plans to widen the roads, allow parking on only one side of narrow roads, change the hydrant connections, limit the size of homes as well as many other preventative measures. The streets are the same and it appears other lessons from that fire have not been learned.
Ours is a FOREST environment. The solution to forest fires is NOT to clear cut the forest.
I also lived in Lake Tahoe. A forest fire started near our home. The fire department had a full perimeter set up within 15 minutes and fought the fire in from the perimeter to keep if from spreading. It was out in 30 minutes. THEY are TRAINED to fight these types of fires. The Oakland Fire Department was NOT. Hopefully they are now.
I also lived in Reno Nevada where there is only scrub brush and grass. I lived through the worst fires imaginable during those years. I have never seen such fast spreading, out-of-control fires as those created by dry grass and scrub brush. It was MUCH harder to put out, must faster moving and YES those fires burn many homes just as quickly.
The Eucalyptus in our hills keep the ground WET, YEAR ROUND, just feel under them, even now, in this drought because they collect and drip the moisture from the air. They also PREVENT the highly dry grass from growing. They are very dense and not fast burning, Pine are especially resistant to fire. All around our hills are mosses, ferns, molds and damp soils because of the Pine and Eucalyptus forests. This moisture is key to protecting our forest.
If these trees are cut down they cannot be put back when the reality of the error is recognized. If you truly wish to restore the area to its ‘natural’ state then either replant redwoods or perhaps flood with sea water to bring it back to ‘what it was.’
This planned tree cutting will live in history as one of the most devastating destructions of a unique, beautiful and rare environment. This is an area that hundreds of thousands of folks visit for its serenity, wildlife, and forest shade.
It is has also been the cherished home to many of us residents for decades; a home we choose in large part because of the trees.”
Million Trees and the San Francisco Forest Alliance also published a petition to the Sierra Club about their support for deforestation and poisoning of our urban forests in the San Francisco Bay Area. Here is one of the comments that was posted by a signer of that petition:
Tyehimba Peyton from Lathrop, CA signed this petition on Aug 25, 2015.
“I am a retired Oakland Fire Department Fire Chief and believe that removing the trees does not reduce, but in fact increases fire danger to the Oakland hills.”
It is a fiction that native plants are less flammable than non-native plants. All the fires raging in Western states this summer are occurring in native vegetation. They start in dry grass, which ignites easily and they move rapidly through the dry grass. When they reach shrubs, they generate more heat. Trees are rarely involved unless it is a wind-driven fire. Anyone with knowledge of fires in California and without a nativist agenda knows that the planned projects in the East Bay Hills will increase fire hazards, not decrease them.
Save the East Bay Hills recently reported on their Facebook page an incident, which demonstrates that creating huge piles of dead wood chips will also contribute to fire hazards. The planned projects will chip the hundreds of thousands of trees they intend to destroy and spread them on the ground. These huge piles of wood chips have the potential for spontaneous combustion as illustrated by this incident:
“Today on Skyline Blvd. in Oakland, we witnessed an incident that demonstrates just how much the plan to cut down 400,000 trees in the East Bay Hills and spread their chipped remains in thick carpets will imperil the welfare of hills residents by vastly increasing the risk of fire.
At noon, just down the street from Redwood Regional Park, Oakland Fire Chief Vegetation manager, Vince Crudele, and several firefighters were called to the scene after a neighbor reported that a large mulch pile from a pine tree that was recently cut down had begun steaming. Firefighters hosed down the mulch pile with water to cool it and explained to us that the steam was the result of heat from the composting debris.
This, of course, begs the question: if the heat from just one tree composting (on a very cool day) is sufficient to warrant the intervention of the Oakland Fire Department, what is going to happen when thick piles of mulch from many thousands of trees and spanning thousands of acres begin to compost in direct sunlight and on hot days? Or, more to the point, how on earth is the current “fire abatement” plan a fire abatement plan?
In fact, it isn’t. It is, according to former Oakland firefighter and Chief of Fire Prevention for the Oakland Army base, ‘a land transformation disguised as a wildfire hazard mitigation plan.. [that] will endanger firefighters and the general public.’“
Please sign our petitions to prevent this dangerous plan from being implemented.