By Kathy Chouteau
The East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) is extending its closure of 11 parks in the East Bay hills through 8 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28. The continuation of closures was prompted by the National Weather Service’s (NWS) extended Red Flag Warning that anticipated more high winds of 60-70 mph in the ridgelines through Tuesday evening.
Parks in the East Bay hills that will remain closed at this time include Wildcat Canyon, Kennedy Grove, Tilden, Reinhardt Redwood, Roberts, Huckleberry, Sibley, Claremont Canyon, Leona Canyon, Anthony Chabot and Lake Chabot.
Also, East Bay Municipal Utility District has closed Lafayette and San Pablo Reservoir since Sunday.
“The East Bay Regional Park District is following the NWS issuance of the Red Flag Warnings to be extra cautious, especially in the East Bay hills during these wind events,” said Park District Fire Chief Aileen Theile. “We want to protect people from falling trees or limbs. We apologize for the inconvenience to those who want to access these hill area parks, but the public’s safety is our priority.”
Initially, the EBRPD had only closed its parks in the East Bay hills on Sunday due to an anticipated “20-year wind event.”
This past weekend, the high winds led to 14 downed powerlines in/near the closed parks in the East Bay hills, as well as 21-45 mph winds in higher elevations. According to the EBRPD, PG&E’s de-energization of these power lines was critical toward not sparking fires from the fallen lines. Other damage at the parks included numerous fallen trees or tree limbs, which are being removed by park staff to clear roads and trails.
Amid these safety measures, the EBRPD still responded to a few fires over the weekend, including a “human-initiated bonfire at Crown Beach and a car fire ignited by an oil pan at Chabot staging area on Redwood Road,” and “also assisted Alameda County Fire in containing a vegetation fire at Eden Canyon Road near Castro Valley,” per the Park District.
During the extended closure the EBRPD advises local residents to refrain from entering the parks; doing so may result in a citation or arrest. To stay updated regarding the park closures and reopenings, click here.