As wildfires become more frequent and severe, Berkeley hills residents should learn key fire weather terms, sign up for emergency notifications, look up their evacuation zone and make plans to leave during extreme fire weather.

During “Extreme Fire Weather” — rare periods of extremely low humidity and high winds as defined by the Berkeley Fire Department — residents living in hillside fire zones are advised to make plans to stay elsewhere. These hot and dry “Extreme Fire Conditions” allow fire to easily ignite and rapidly spread, posing particular risk to those in Berkeley fire zones 2 and 3 (the Berkeley hills), areas close to regional parklands. Hills residents should stay on heightened alert during every Red Flag Warning and:

  • keep their phones on and with them at all times;
  • avoid activities that could cause sparks;
  • be prepared to rapidly evacuate if necessary.

The city of Berkeley sends AC Alert notifications over email and the Everbridge mobile app for every Red Flag Warning affecting Berkeley. The city also post notices on its website and social media. When spot forecasts predict local “Extreme Fire Weather” conditions, city staff activate the city’s Emergency Operations Center and increase fire responders, fire apparatus, police and fire patrols in the hills.

These increased staff patrol to identify fires or risky activities, as well as to provide additional law enforcement presence while homes are unoccupied. City staff also keep the community up-to-date with continuing AC Alert notifications over phone and text in addition to email and the Everbridge app. For more information, visit online.

— city of Berkeley


DeSaulnier secures $8.1M for 10 projects in Contra Costa

U.S. Rep. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Richmond, has secured $8.1 million for projects throughout Contra Costa County in an appropriations minibus (H.R. 4502) that passed in the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 219-to-208. If signed into law, this funding would go to 10 different county projects that would address behavioral and mental health, support veterans, improve transportation access, increase Internet access for students and help the county plan for transitioning away from fossil fuels. H.R. 4502 has moved to the Senate for consideration. To view the full list of projects visit online.

“Having served at the city, county and state levels of government, I know just how impactful projects like these will be to our local community. With this money, we will help people in mental health crises, improve commutes, help connect students with better Internet, and much more. I am proud to have secured this much-needed funding and urge the Senate to pass it swiftly so we can make an immediate and positive impact in Contra Costa,” DeSaulnier said.

— U.S. Rep. DeSaulnier’s office


New elementary school’s opening ceremony on Aug. 14

The Albany Unified School District (AUSD) will join with the community from 2 to 4 p.m. Aug. 14 to celebrate the grand opening of the new Ocean View Elementary School at 1000 Jackson St. in Albany for a ribbon-cutting ceremony, open house and self-guided tours. This new 60,000-square-foot facility is the largest of four major school expansion/modernization projects funded by Albany school bond Measures B and E. The new facility will dramatically enhance the campus experience for nearly 500 incoming students in August and replaces an outdated and seismically deficient facility that was originally built as Albany’s middle school.

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