Protecting Your Home from a Brush Fire
Can A Firestorm Happen Here?
On October 20, 1991, the Oakland firestorm destroyed 3,354 homes, 456 apartments and killed 25 people. Since then, we have been asked on many occasions if the same thing can happen here in Belmont or San Carlos.
Unfortunately the answer is yes. No one can predict what a fire will do in our area but we can certainly look at the elements which contribute to a fire of such serious consequences.
Your Fire Department is well aware of the conditions that cause such disastrous fires. High temperatures, warm winds, steep hills, wildland vegetation, drought affected plans, narrow roads and densely populated neighborhoods all contribute to firestorms.
Protecting the Public
The Fire Department has done many things to protect you from such an occurrence. We have extensive automatic agreements with local agencies including assistance from the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection on all first alarm assignments west of the Alameda. This automatically provides use with State resources including air tankers and helicopters We have multi-channel radios to tactically coordinate the numerous resources who would respond and have responded in the past.
Our water supply in this area is generally very good. The water company has informed us that they provide a gravity feed system whereby power outages should not affect the water flow to our system. They have also provided back-up generators to their pumping stations despite the gravity feed system.
Extensive drilling and pre-planning in this area has been ongoing for several years and will continue as new information and procedures become available.
The fire prevention bureau is extensively involved in making sure that fire safe construction is built into all new development. We have a roofing ordinance in effect which will significantly reduce the threat of roof fires as the untreated wood roofs are eventually replaced.
The bureau has also worked with the Parks and Recreation Departments to remove dangerously overgrown vegetation which could threaten property and residents of the community. Inmates from the corrections facility have been successfully used to help clear out dead debris in prescribed areas at no charge.
The fire department is working in many areas to combat the treat of a wildland fire and we need your help to ensure the greatest amount of defense.
What Can You Do?
Each homeowner can contribute significantly to our effort of preventing large scale fires. The single greatest thing a homeowner can do is trim and remove dead, dying and overgrown vegetation. If you follow the guidelines on our Fire Safety and Protecting Your Home web pages you will be part of the "team" who is making our area a safer place to live.