$4 million fire-prevention grant ignites passions in Oakland

AP News
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Posted: Jun 02, 2015 3:09 PM

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A $4 million federal grant to prevent fires in the tony Oakland hills has ignited the region's passions.

The Oakland Fire Department wants to accept the grant to cut down eucalyptus trees to help prevent another deadly firestorm that whipped through the hills in 1991. That fired killed 25 people and destroyed nearly 3,500 homes.

But some residents and environmentalists say the non-native trees aren't a safety hazard and have filed a lawsuit to block the fire department from receiving the grant.

Federal officials scaled back their initial proposal to clear cut all eucalyptus trees in the region after receiving 13,000 comments. The current plan is to "thin" the trees.

The Contra Costa Times reports (http://bayareane.ws/1K7BNQ6 ) Tuesday that Oakland City Council is scheduled to vote on the grant Tuesday night.