An emotional and cultural debate has emerged over the removal of fuels in the East Bay Hills. This large scale FEMA-funded project is intended to reduce risk of catastrophic fire in the East Bay. Human development within, and at the edges, of the natural environment has dramatically changed our relationship in this fire-prone area. The critical question is what action will truly increase long-term safety, while minimizing impact to natural resources. There is no simple answer to this question.
We hope that residents and ecologists with professional experience will read and review the weighty Environmental Impact Report documents and provide input on this project. We hope that people can rise-up towards analyzing the facts rather than providing a purely emotional “not in my backyard” analysis. Although it is impossible to disconnect humanity from anything we do in nature, there should always be a sacred place for science and rationality in what we do as land managers.
We do believe there are still notable improvements to be made in this document, but we support people and agencies working together toward solutions rather than standing around and doing nothing while danger is imminent. Please consider that doing nothing may also contribute to ecological damage and deterioration.
A great place to begin is to read the introduction and the summary of this analysis and start to understand some of the key issues and difficulties in analyzing them. (Links are below)
Comments to FEMA are due by June 17th, 2013.
Submitting Comments on the Draft EIS
Written comments must be submitted or postmarked by midnight on June 17, 2013. Oral and written comments may be made at any of the three public meetings. Written comments may also be submitted through:
- via email at EBH-EIS-FEMA-RIX@fema.dhs.gov,
- via fax at FAX: (510) 627-7147, or
- via mail to P.O. Box 72379, Oakland, CA 94612-8579.
Here’s the press release with links to critical information: https://www.fema.gov/news-release/2013/04/25/fema-releases-draft-environmental-impact-statement-addressing-hazardous-fire
Here is a comment letter from the East Bay Chapter of the California Native Plant Society on the Notice of Preparation for this document (published 2010). Please note the Appendix to this letter which offers some key insight into fuels and vegetation.