OAKLAND HILLS FIRESTORM
Oct. 19-21, 1991
Resource Page
By the Numbers
25 Deaths
150 Injuries
3469 Homes/Apt Destroyed
2000 Autos Destroyed
$4B in Damage
(2015 dollars)

  NASA thermal imagery showing fires and hot spots on Monday morning, October 21, 1991.er 21, 1991.
Oakland Firestorm Websites
- East Bay Regional Parks
- History Channel
- Wildfire Magazine
- SF Fire Department
- Wikipedia Summary 

Technical Reports

- FEMA
- FEMA - Hazard Mitigation
- National Weather Service
- CA OES
- Firewise
- Weatherwise Retrospective

Personal Perspective
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In 1991 I was a Lead Forecaster with the NWS in Redwood City and on the night of October 20 I worked the "mid-shift" from 11 pm to 7 am. That afternoon, I had been watching the SF Forty-Niners, led by Steve Young, beat the Detroit Lions 35-3 at Candlestick Park and during the game they kept showing an ever growing plume of smoke looking east toward the Oakland/Berkeley hills. Give the warm dry conditons due to "Diablo Winds" I knew I was in for a busy night. Below is a link to some of the forecasts I issued in conjunction to numerous coordination calls with the California Office of Emergency Services and other agencies. The bottom line from them was that the best they could do until the northeast winds subsided was to keep the flanks from growing. Fortunately, during the moening hours of October 21st, the pattern began shifting, with the dry northeast winds being replaced repalced by onshore winds and higher humidities. Jan Null, CCM
[Forecasts issued]


Diablo Winds
- Diablo Winds, a term coined by forecasters at the NWS Redwood City Forecast Office, have a double meaning. First, these northeast winds tend to blow from the direction of Mount Diablo. And secondly, the Spanish translation of the word "diablo" is devil; a term particularly apt for these hot, dry winds. It was Diablo winds that resulted in the Oakland hills firestorm in October 1991.

- Pattern Description
-
History of Diablo Winds fires

Surface wind pattern for Sunday morning, October 20, 1991.

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