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Flame and Fortune in the American WestUrban Development, Environmental Change, and the Great Oakland Hills Fire$
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Gregory L. Simon

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520292802

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520292802.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 17 May 2022

The 1991 Tunnel Fire

The 1991 Tunnel Fire

The Case for an Affluence-Vulnerability Interface

(p.11) 1 The 1991 Tunnel Fire
Flame and Fortune in the American West

Gregory L. Simon

University of California Press

The 1991 Oakland Hills Tunnel Fire is perhaps the most significant urban wildfire in United States history. Located in northeastern Oakland, California, and stretching northward into the city of Berkeley and east into neighboring Contra Costa County, the Tunnel Fire destroyed more than three thousand dwelling units and killed twenty-five people over a twenty-four-hour period. In adjusted 2012 dollars, the fire is estimated to have generated $2.5 billion in losses. Across the region, nation, and even internationally, the Tunnel Fire (or “Oakland Hills Firestorm” or “East Bay Hills Firestorm” depending on who is reporting) remains the urban wildfire reference point in U.S. history. This chapter describes the importance of an affluence-vulnerability interface analytic approach as a complement to more conventional wildland-urban interface analysis. It also presents important background information on the book's primary case study thread—the Tunnel Fire.

Keywords:   Oakland Hills Tunnel Fire, urban wildfire, firestorm, affluence-vulnerability interface, wildland-urban interface

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