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Some East Bay Residents Upset Over New Wildfire Plan

OAKLAND (KCBS) – A wild land management plan for the East Bay hills has been approved, but not everyone is happy with it, believing the plan doesn't go far enough.

In a unanimous vote the East Bay Regional Park District Board approved a settlement that it maintains will improve fire safety in 13 regional parks by trimming and removing trees. Park District Assistant Fire Chief Don Swanson said that the region covered by the settlement is quite large.

"We're talking about 3,000 acres, and in many places there are over 500 trees per acre involved," said Swanson. "We are going to be thinning those trees, but we have not made any calculations as to exactly how many trees are going to be gone."

KCBS' Dave Padilla Reports:

However, Jon Kaufman of the Claremont Canyon Conservancy, which opposed the settlement, said that not enough trees will be removed. He is especially concerned about the eucalyptus along the ridge of the East Bay Hills.

"Leaving some eucalyptus trees means that those trees can be a source of fire, and a source of seeds for more eucalyptus trees. This is a huge danger; let's take them all out," said Kaufman.

Safety leaders are hoping to avoid another tragedy like the Oakland/Berkeley Hills fire of 1991, which killed 25 people and burned more than 3,000 homes.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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