OAKLAND (AP) — The city auditor says Oakland must do a better job inspecting yards and making sure property owners clear away fire fuels in order to prevent another devastating wildfire in the dry, brush-strewn hills.
Auditor Courtney Ruby cites a "lackluster culture" surrounding the performance of inspections by the Fire Department.
After the 1991 Hills fire that killed 25 people and destroyed more than 3,000 homes, Oakland ordered firefighters to conduct annual vegetation inspections. But Ruby found that the Fire Department often doesn't take the inspections seriously and fails to make property owners reduce fire risks.
The audit also found that when the city has paid to reduce fire risks itself, it has failed recently to recoup the costs — more than $120,000 — from property owners.