The Works Progress Administration (WPA) undertook several wildfire control projects in the hills behind Oakland, including brush clearing, fire breaks, fire patrols and fire trails. Given the natural frequency of fires in California’s dry summers – such as the massive Oakland Hills fire of 1992 – this kind of work was undoubtedly valuable for fire control.
Seven projects were approved in 1935-36, as described in WPA project cards detailed here. Approved projects were not always carried out, however, and in this case one was defunded, another deleted and two were superseded. It is almost impossible to confirm that the other work was completed, since it is not the kind of thing reported in newspapers.
WPA Project No. 65-3-1414, Approval Date 10-7-35, $47,975, “Construct fire break in Hill District. Clean, burn brush.”
WPA Project No. 65-3-1978, Approval Date 10-25-35, $3,600, “Furnish men to patrol forest.” Presidential letter 956 – 10-30-35 – Project rescinded.
WPA Project No. 65-3-1979, Approval Date 10-25-35, $7,100, “Building and clearing fire breaks.” Pres. Letter #1550 4-8-36. Delete $7,100 – Project Deleted.
WPA Project No. 65-3-2435, Approval Date 11-4-35 , $11,255, “Clearing & brushing of fire breaks and construction of fire patrol trails.”
WPA Project No. 65-3-4647, Approval date 2-8-36, $16,410, “Clearing of fire breaks in City of Oakland.” Superseded by O.P. 465-3-2-534
WPA Project No. 65-3-4722, Approval Date 2-19-36, $392,719, “Water Shed improvements.” Superseded by O.P. 665-8-2-16
WPA Project No. 65-3-868, Approval Date 3-31-36, $6,470, “Fire Trail clearing – Redwood Canyon.”
WPA Job Cards, Fresno Public Library, San Joaquin Valley Heritage & Genealogy Center.
Project originally submitted by Andrew Lavadiere on July 27, 2018.
Additional contributions by Richard A Walker.
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