A devastating conflagration occurred in the scenic hills above the cities of Oakland and Berkeley, California, on October 20, 1991. Burning embers carried by high winds from the perimeter of a small but growing duff fire ignited overgrown vegetation and led to the further ignition of tree crowns and combustible construction materials of adjacent homes, including many with wood-shingle roofs.
The result was a major wildland/urban interface fire that killed 25 people including a police officer and a fire fighter, injured 150 others, destroyed nearly 2,449 single-family dwellings and 437 apartment and condominium units, burned over 1,660 acres, and did an estimated $1.5 billion in damage.
The conflagration that day was so intense that fire fighters were helpless in their attempts to suppress it, and the affected residents suddenly found themselves encircled in flames, blinded by smoke, and helplessly looking for escape.
NFPA members Download this Oakland, CA report.
For more information on the NFPA Firewise Communities USA/Recognition Program