Help build a safer Berkeley and possibly lower your home insurance rates by demonstrating your commitment to reducing wildfire risk.
You and your neighbors can team up with the Berkeley Fire Department to identify ways to reduce fire risk in your area and better protect your neighborhood before fires start.
It only takes a minimum of eight individual single-family dwelling units to create a Firewise Community, a distinction that can help you qualify for lower insurance rates.
In organizing your neighborhood, you’ll join five neighborhoods in the North Berkeley hills that have already worked with Berkeley Fire and been recognized as a Firewise USA Sites®.
Take the first step. Contact Berkeley Fire’s Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Division:
What are Firewise Communities?
A minimum of eight individual single-family dwelling units can form a “Firewise community,” a group banding together to reduce their properties’ vulnerability to wildfire.
Multiple homes can be located within large apartments complexes, condos, townhomes, or Homeowners Associations. Houses do not have to adjoin and not all households within an area need to participate.
Park Hills is our newest and largest Firewise community adjacent to Tilden Park. Residents in the Acacia Avenue area just off Grizzly Peak Boulevard, became the City’s first community recognized by the National Fire Protection Agency.
Become Firewise; possibly reduce your home insurance costs
Currently, over 20 residential property insurance companies voluntarily offer discounts to homeowners who have taken action to reduce wildfire risk.
According to the California Department of Insurance, the number of insurance companies offering discounts has increased since 2019. Discounts and eligibility differ by company. Contact your insurance company directly to find out if your property qualifies.
Becoming a Firewise USA Site® community depends on the commitment of your neighborhood to successfully complete the Firewise process, which can range from a few months to several years.
Reduce your wildfire risk to help build a safer Berkeley
Protect your homes and neighborhood from wildfires by forming a neighborhood group and learning how to reduce wildfire risk through the National Firewise program. You can also join FireSafe Berkeley to learn more ways to protect your home.
Homeowners will learn ways to protect their homes before fires start, just like the Parks Hills and Acacia Firewise communities, by using wildfire risk reduction methods:
- carefully landscape around residential structures by thinning trees and brush
- choose fire-resistant plants and vegetation
- select ignition-resistant building materials and positioning structures away from slopes
- organize and implement a Firewise plan in your neighborhood
Get help with the Firewise process
The Berkeley Fire Department will help your neighborhood by:
- creating and developing an action plan with your group from a provided template
- assisting you with a Community Wildfire Risk Assessment
- supporting you in organization and planning
- Collaborating with you on mitigation projects
You and your neighbors will work together as a community to:
- Create a Firewise Portal account and apply to the program
- Conduct neighborhood educational outreach including activities and events focused on fire safety. These include City programs like Chipper and Vegetation Bin services, education days, and neighborhood roadway clean-up
- Invest a minimum of one hour per home annually performing wildfire risk-reduction actions
- Show a specific amount of money per resident was spent making your community Firewise
Engage and encourage your neighbors to actively build a safer place to live by starting the Firewise process. Contact the Berkeley Fire Department’s Wildland Urban Interface Division by email or call (510) 981-5620 to get started.
- Contact the Firewise Coordinator by email
- Learn more about Firewise communities (CalFire)
- Get more info about the Firewise USA® program (National Fire Protection Association)
- Home insurers currently offering discounts (CA Department of Insurance)
- Protect and prepare your property for wildfire
- Join FireSafe Berkeley to learn more ways to protect your home