Town Square

Post a New Topic

It's fire season here in Palo Alto, too.

Original post made by Been There on May 22, 2007

Having lost my home in a major California wildfire, I would like to point out that there are parts of Palo Alto equally and a few even more at risk than other places that have seen major fires in this state. Are you prepared? Have you done what you can to reduce the risk to your home and your neighborhood?

We have had three years straight of heavy, late rains, and now this dry year. We have our hills, with windy, narrow roads and heavy vegetation.

Do not think that your urban-looking neighborhood is immune. Mine wasn't. Sparks fly in dry winds -- do you have a fire safe roof? Do you have landscaping under your eaves that could ignite and set your whole house on fire in minutes through your attic? Juniper bushes, for example, are oily and dry, and they burn long and hot. If your yard is full of junipers, and a major fire occurs, you can kiss your house and probably your neighbors' houses, goodbye. Are juniper jungles worth it?

In a major event, no one will be able to pour water on your home. In California, with homes often no more than 10 feet apart, fires spread easily house to house. Do you have good insulation and double paned windows facing your neighbors? Do you have flammable materials piled high in your side yard?

30 feet clearance around your house doesn't just mean dry grass, but that's a good place to start. I see plenty of dry grass that hasn't been cleared.

We are not immune, but we could be a lot safer than we are. Fire season is here, folks. If you've been putting off those safety measures, now's the time.

Comments (3)

Posted by Observer, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 23, 2007 at 11:29 am

There are many square miles of Palo Alto that have no fire departments/stations within many miles or probably 20 minutes. A new station is needed in the open space region about 2 miles above the entrance to Foothills Park on Page Mill Rd or maybe at Montebello Rd and Page Mill Rd..


Posted by Been There, a resident of Gunn High School
on May 23, 2007 at 7:56 pm

Good observation, Observer.

The thing to remember, though, is that in large events, existing firefighting resources are usually overwhelmed. Reducing the risk that one's house will catch fire is the best prevention.

A new fire station could not go in overnight. A bad fire season is already upon us. Everyone's efforts to reduce their own home's risk will also reduce the risk to their entire neighborhood.


Posted by Tim, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 24, 2007 at 8:43 am

There is a Palo Alto Fire station in Foothills park. It is open during wildfire season (Jul thru Oct). But this year, the Palo Alto Finance Comm voted 4 to 0 NOT to open it.
The state has already had a few major wildfires and Palo Alto has had two small ones in the last week.
I guess the city will "roll the dice" on this wildfire season.
Good luck in those dry hills!


If you were a member and logged in you could track comments from this story.

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

The dress code
By Jessica T | 24 comments | 2,034 views

September food and drink goings on
By Elena Kadvany | 0 comments | 1,421 views

Two Days to Save This Dog?
By Cathy Kirkman | 15 comments | 1,270 views

It Depends... Disguising Real Characters in Fiction
By Nick Taylor | 0 comments | 420 views

Twenty-five years of wedded bliss
By Sally Torbey | 0 comments | 101 views