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Memories and Lessons Learned from the 1991 Oakland Firestorm

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It was a hot October weekend. Typical Bay Area fall weather, and the end of fire season. A small fire that had broken out in the hills above the Caldecott Tunnel looked nearly extinguished. But then the wind kicked up, and suddenly what had been a campfire-size blaze, became an inferno. That firestorm would go on to kill 25 people and destroy 3,400 homes. Thirty years ago, it seemed like an anomaly. Today, fires so large that they create their own weather systems have become an annual event. We’ll talk about lessons learned from the Tunnel Fire with people who lived through it and with those trying to prevent another conflagration from happening again.

Guests:

Elihu Harris, former mayor of the City of Oakland

Frances Dinkelspiel, journalist, author and co-founder of Berkeleyside.org and Oaklandside.org

Rob Roth, reporter, KTVU Channel 2 News

Scott Stephens, professor of Fire Science at the College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

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