Residents Oppose Plan to Cut Down 400,000 Trees in East Bay Hills

East Bay residents gathered for a meeting on Friday in the Berkeley Hills to discuss saving about 400,000 trees from being cut.

The group opposes a plan to cut down the trees to make the East Bay Hills more safe from fires. Residents who are not in favor of the plan said the trees can help stop a huge fire from spreading.

"There's a wildly held belief the 1991 Oakland Hills fire had something to do with eucalyptus trees," said Dan Grassetti, president of the Hills Conservation Network. "Nothing could be farther from the truth."

The City of Oakland accepted a federal grant to chop down the trees in the Oakland Hills.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf released a statement saying a FEMA plan 20 years in the making reflects the demands of the public for a long-term, comprehensive plan to reduce fire risk, and restore and protect the resources in the hills.

Retired Oakland firefighter Dave Maloney is one of the resident who oppose the plan.

"It's ignoring the significance of trees that collect moisture in the East Bay Hills," Maloney said. "That's 16 inches per year. That's very significant."

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