Oakland firefighters will be spending this New Year’s Eve patrolling the hills, looking for illegal fireworks.
The current vegetation is extremely dry from the lack of rain this season, so even a spark from one firecracker could mean big trouble.
Patrols began late Tuesday afternoon and will step up closer to midnight.
Even though it’s almost January, fire danger in the Oakland Hills is considered to be very high.
Homeowners who live near the bone-dry brush know it doesn’t take much for a wildfire to get out of control. That’s why the sound of illegal fireworks is a scary one.
“Pray. There isn’t much else I can do,” said resident Renee Dawson.
Firefighters plan to patrol the hills most of the night Tuesday.
They say they’ll be driving through neighborhoods and keeping a presence.
Oakland Battalion Chief Erik Logan says a firework could land on dry vegetation and easily spark a vegetation fire or land on someone’s roof, causing a home fire.
Typically these types of patrols are seen in the summer and fall, during what is generally considered the fire season. Dry conditions this year have extended that season well through the holidays.
“People think that the summer months being hot is the main reason you would have a wildland fire. But really it’s the dryness. And this vegetation is still dry,” said Logan.
Those who live up here say they’ll be keeping their eyes and ears open Tuesday night.
“We have a lot of kids in the area. I am sure there will be a lot of rogue fireworks going off. Hopefully people can use some common sense,” said resident Dimitri Kambouridis.
Firefighters are urging residents to call them if they see anyone setting off fireworks, no matter how small. Because it doesn’t take much for trouble to spread like wildfire.