Wildfire Prevention Plan
A proposal to produce a wildfire prevention plan was submitted to the City by UC's Center for Catastrophic Risk Management (CCRM). The submittal was made by 30-year Orinda resident John Radke. Radke is a Cal professor specializing in “spatial analysis”. He has been working on modeling wildfire spread for decades and developing procedures to mitigate the problem.
Radke has been talking with the city about creating a plan since shortly after the residents voted to tax themselves $3 million a year to provide for a wildfire prevention plan in November 2020.
CCRM’s plan would use available (high-definition satellite) data on vegetation density, terrain, and wind patterns to determine the highest risk areas for vegetation reduction (the one element of fire-spread we can control). In addition, his plan would encourage property owners to use a web-based tool to further identify vegetation on their properties so that the fire-spread model could be better defined. His model would identify “fire-sheds” (gullies) where fire would intensify and get “out of control”, which would need to be the priority areas for mitigation.
In addition to short-term planning (removing excess vegetation), the vegetation database would be periodically (semi-annually or annually) updated so that it would not be allowed to grow back as has been witnessed in other areas (Oakland and Berkely hills since the 1991 firestorm).
No other community has such a program. Orinda would be the model for other communities to follow, not just home to the Best Fourth of July Parade.