Oakland agencies not doing their part to clear fire dangers

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Government agencies in Oakland are some of the biggest offenders that are not clearing dry brush this year.

Notice after notice has gone out to everyone and anyone who owns property in the Oakland Hills that the tall dry grasses must be cleared because of the high fire danger.

Goats seem to be doing their part, but not everyone is getting the message.

"We are still out actively conducting inspections," said Oakland Fire Inspector Vincent Crudele. He's found that some of the worst offenders are government or public entities that own property in the hills.

"It's taken some time to get compliance with certain parcels. For instance, this is a hillside full of weeds, as tall as six-feet on a parcel of land north of Park Boulevard near Highway 13 that's owned by Caltrans," said Crudele.

The overgrown hillside leads right up to dozens of homes.

"We will definitely have it on the schedule sometime soon. And we're working very hard on that. That is the criteria for that, how close it is to the property owners, especially the structures themselves," said Caltrans spokesperson Bob Haus.

The Oakland School District did finally clear its six hills properties in just the past few days, after no fewer than three abatement notices dating back to May.

Crudele said, "They were a little late in doing it but often times it's a matter of financial funds being available and renewal of the fiscal year, so we're happy that we have their cooperation and they've actually done their clearing now."

It comes just in time for fire officials who say the current conditions are more like October, than late July.
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