The city of Berkeley is introducing a plan to reduce wildfire risk at a virtual Disaster and Fire Safety Commission meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, officials said.

With fire season already upon us, Berkeley officials will introduce the Community Wildfire Protection Plan, which is in the development stages, and show attendees how to use their community base map, which shows “existing wildfire hazards and risks in Berkeley, where fires have happened in the past, (and) evacuation zones and routes,” according to a citywide newsletter.

This year, the city launched a CWPP “hub,” a website with the new map tools, including the community base map and surveys — the first gathers “local knowledge of wildfire.” On July 4, it released a tutorial on how to navigate the hub.

The plan will be the city’s “blueprint for hazard mitigation in Berkeley’s very high-severity fire zones, as well as the rest of the city,” said Chris Pinto last month in an interview with Berkeleyside. Pinto is heading Berkeley Fire’s new Wildland-Urban Interface, or WUI, division.

The Wildfire Protection Plan will set goals for improving wildfire response, community  preparedness, fuel management, infrastructure, ignition reduction, home hardening and more. The plan’s development is being funded by Measure FF, an $8.5-million-per-year emergency services parcel tax passed by voters in 2020.

Work on the plan began in May, said Pinto. The city aims to have a draft ready in January 2023 and finalize it by March 2023. 

The upcoming meeting, the first of four, will also be an opportunity for residents to weigh in on the plan and communicate concerns. Follow-up meetings will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Sept. 28, Dec. 7, and Jan. 25, 2023. 

If you can’t attend Wednesday’s meeting, you can share your thoughts via an online survey and stay updated by signing up for the city’s project email list

Iris Kwok covers the environment for Berkeleyside through a partnership with Report for America. A former music journalist, her work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, KQED, San Francisco Examiner...