Berkeley Fire Ready Fest comes to Live Oak Park on Sunday

With activities for all ages, Fire Ready Fest will have interactive games and demos to teach practical tips to prepare your home and family for fires.

Berkeley Fire Ready Fest comes to Live Oak Park on Sunday
Berkeley firefighters during a hazmat drill in 2022. Emilie Raguso/The Berkeley Scanner

Join us Sunday, Sept. 17, for an event that will teach you how to better prepare for wildfires, guide you to resources and mark the 100th anniversary of one of Berkeley’s most destructive wildfires.

With activities for all ages, the Fire Ready Fest will have interactive games and demonstrations to teach practical tips to prepare your home and family for fires.

This event builds on a number of Berkeley Fire Department actions to better prepare our community for wildfires, including expanded inspections for hillside properties, new emergency alerting systems, and supportive programs for residents to make their properties safer.

We’ll also use Fire Ready Fest for the first citywide activation of our new outdoor warning system at noon. For this test activation, the system will use chime tones instead of the siren wail that indicates an emergency. In addition to hearing the test chimes at noon, you’ll also be able to check out a demonstration siren to see the technology up close.

The event also commemorates the anniversary of the 1923 Berkeley fire, which burned from the hills to the flats and only stopped when the winds changed. While we are better equipped to respond to fires today, denser hillside development and vegetation have made firefighting and evacuation more challenging.

Fire Ready Fest
Sunday, Sept. 17
10 a.m.–2 p.m.
Live Oak Park, 1301 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley
Free event, no registration needed
Read the event flier.

Learn, have fun and connect with community

We call all take simple steps to make Berkeley safer from the growing threat of wildfires. Join neighbors, city staff and community groups at this free event. You’ll be able to:

  • Get tips to protect your home: Gather information through interactive booths, talk with Fire Department staff, learn from live demonstrations
  • Make an evacuation plan: Ask questions about evacuation maps, get guidance on your disaster preparedness plan
  • Enjoy family-friendly fun: Play fire-safety games, win prizes, meet a firefighter, see a fire truck up close, enjoy music and food for purchase
  • Learn about the 1923 fire: Join a 10 am walking tour with Berkeley Path Wanderers leading up to the event

Live Oak Park is about 1 mile from the downtown or North Berkeley BART stations. Use bus lines 7, 12, 18 or 67, or try AC Transit's route planner. You can also bike there using our bike boulevards.

The event will have ASL interpreters, ADA bathrooms and access to booths via paved pathways. If you have questions or would like to volunteer, please email or call 510-336-4613.

Berkeley will now play ‘wailing siren tone’ in emergencies
Berkeley’s new outdoor warning system will advise about emergency action, which would differ depending on the disaster.

Take steps to protect your family and your home

Everyone can take action to make our homes, families and communities more resilient in the face of disasters. Make sure you are signed up for emergency alerts and familiarize yourself with Berkeley’s emergency map. Create a plan for extreme fire weather and evacuations.

If you live in the hills, protect your home from fire by clearing the area around your house of vegetation and other flammable materials to create defensible space. Harden your home against wildfire; start with inexpensive upgrades like installing metal screens over your gutters and vents.

On extreme fire weather days, we recommend residents of the hills relocate for their safety. Leaving the hills before a fire breaks out is the best way to ensure you and your family stay safe.

A comprehensive effort to reduce risk

The Berkeley Fire Department, with funding from Measure FF, manages a suite of programs and projects to reduce the risk of wildfire. Berkeley Fire has:

  • Created a comprehensive wildfire protection plan
  • Created an inspection program that provides customized fire prevention plans for over 8,500 homes
  • Increased public education about fire prevention
  • Expanded the chipper program to be available citywide

Residents can take advantage of free chipping services (Sept. 25 deadline) and curated resources on vegetation management and home hardening, or connect with neighbors to reduce wildfire risk.

Help us improve our evacuation plan by completing a survey.

Learning from the 1923 fire

Due to climate change, the dry and windy weather that contributed to the historic 1923 fire is more common today. Increased flammable vegetation and denser hillside housing have intensified the challenges. Narrow roads make it difficult to evacuate and for emergency vehicles to respond.

However, with knowledge from past fires and modern monitoring tools, we can send alerts when weather conditions pose a high fire danger. We also have far more resources and tools to help residents and neighborhoods to prepare for wildfires, which are a natural part of Berkeley’s landscape.

Each of us plays a role. Being fire-ready is a way to gain control, and you can prepare in a fun way with others.

Come to Live Oak Park on Sunday, Sept. 17, to enjoy games and food, while gathering essential knowledge to protect your family, home and neighborhood from wildfires.

More resources

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This post originally appeared on the city of Berkeley website and has been reprinted here in full with minor edits for clarity. Get more city of Berkeley alerts by subscribing online.