Moving Forward with Fire Prevention

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(Ken Light, Photographer)
Grant money in action: tree trimming and brush clearing on Via Farallon, organized by MOFD and the Orinda Firewise Council.

    While Orindans get homes ready to comply with the fire code by June 1, the City and the Moraga-Orinda Fire District (MOFD) are also busy finding ways to help Orinda get to a safer place.
    Orinda’s new Supplemental Sales Tax Oversight Committee (SSTOC) is gearing up. Jim Bourgart, an interim staff person hired to get the programs going, has several important developments underway, pending final approvals.
    The City will purchase its own chipper and truck, ready for deployment around the end of May. The chipper program will run with an operational agreement with MOFD.
    The City, having prioritized the properties that must be cleared, is moving forward on them. At the top of the list is Orinda Oaks, which will be cleaned manually to comply with fire code. A long-term option may well be grazing on the property by either cows or goats.
    The SSTOC invited representatives from the East Bay Municipal Utilities District (EBMUD) to speak about its vegetation management program at its April 14 meeting in response to a number of citizens who spoke at its board meeting about the incredible number of dead and dying trees at the San Pablo Reservoir.
    In early February, Chief Winnacker was tapped to use unspent grant money from Cal Fires and the Diablo Fire Safe Council if MOFD could spend it by March 15. He turned to the Orinda Firewise Council because he knew the Firewise groups could get their neighborhoods organized quickly.
    Fire Marshall Isaacs worked with the Firewise groups and also reached out to the Moraga Firewise groups, who were also ready and willing to get some free tree trimming and brush removal on their properties.
    In all, they cleared out 242 piles or about 60.3 tons of material with $90,000 from the Fire Safe Council and $50,000 from Cal Fire.
    Another partnership between the Firewise communities and MOFD is the Adapted Community Ambassador Program (ACA Program). This is a pilot program organized through MOFD to train volunteers across Orinda and Moraga to offer home assessment services and home tips for homes.
    MOFD will provide specific instruction to a small group of volunteers (estimated to be seven from Orinda, seven from Moraga, two from Canyon and a couple of other areas). Once the training is complete, volunteers are expected to share their knowledge, making it easier to comply with the fire code and become safer.
    Orinda is on the right path to becoming more wildfire-resilient. It’s important that residents take a good look at the fire code postcard coming soon and do everything possible to make their home and property safer from a wildfire.

Fire Hazard Information

    The next annual exterior hazard compliance deadline is May 31 and assessments begin June 1.
    The revised Staying Safe in Orinda video will continue to air on CATV, Comcast 26 through June, with likely extensions.
    The Wildfire Preparedness video is streaming on the MOFD YouTube channel, and visit the Orinda Wildfire Emergency Preparedness and Evacuation Presentation video at https://youtu.be/hh4X78wKQPw

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