Grizzly Peak Boulevard and several viewpoints in the Berkeley Hills will be closed on the Fourth of July due to fire risks from illegal fireworks.
The closures will begin at 5 a.m. on Sunday through 6 a.m. Monday. Only residents will be able to pass checkpoints, and city officials said they will be asked to show proof of residency on Grizzly Peak or the immediate area. Berkeley Fire Capt. Keith May said that could include a driver’s license that has an address corresponding to the neighborhood.
Authorities said “traffic posts will be in place to prevent thru traffic” at Stadium Rim Way at Centennial; Centennial and Grizzly Peak; Lomas Cantadas & Grizzly Peak; and Fish Ranch Rd / Grizzly Peak / Claremont. In addition, Panoramic Way at Prospect Street. will also be closed to non-residents on July 4 from 5-11 p.m.
Lawrence Hall of Science, UC Botanical Garden and turnouts on Grizzly Peak Boulevard, often used as viewpoints for the Bay Area skyline, will also be closed off and no stopping will be allowed.
The roughly 5-mile stretch of roadway in the Berkeley and Oakland Hills was also closed off last year in anticipation of illegal firework shows that popped up to replace official events (such as the annual Berkeley Marina show, which remains canceled this July) during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Residents in the hills have been raising the alarm over increased fire risk during a historic drought this year, and officials say the Fourth of July closures are another measure to curb wildfire danger.
Multiple jurisdictions oversee the area of Grizzly Peak, including those from Berkeley, the University of California, Oakland, Kensington, the East Bay Regional Park District, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Moraga-Orinda Fire District. These groups are working in tandem to oversee the closures.
Featured photo credit Pete Rosos