As summer is quickly approaching, it also means fire season is right around the corner (May 1 – November 1). This past October marked the 20th anniversary of the Firestorm and we were all reminded of its incredible devastation of life and property.
Tragically, 25 lives were lost during that event, along with more than 3,000 homes, condos and apartments. The Firestorm destroyed more than 1,500 acres, with a total economic loss estimated at more than $1.5 billion.
To prevent a fire of this magnitude from ever happening again, the City established the Oakland WildFire Prevention Assessment District. Property owners within this district pay an assessment for additional services, as well as have special rules and requirements governing fire prevention as they are located in a high hazard severity zone.
In March, my Office initiated a performance audit of the Oakland Wildfire Prevention Assessment District to determine whether Oakland’s Fire Prevention Bureau’s inspection process and properties within the district comply with Charter requirements and existing fire code.
It is my hope that this performance audit will help us understand the effectiveness of our fire prevention efforts and provide Oakland residents a measure of confidence in the City’s efforts to prevent future tragedies like the Firestorm for occurring again.
To learn about the WildFire Prevention Assessment District’s resources for homeowners, click here.