A sign put up at one of the entrances to Tilden Park announcing the closure of the park due to serious fire hazard conditions. August 19 2020. Photo: Pete Rosos
A sign put up at one of the entrances to Tilden Regional Park announcing the closure of the park due to serious fire hazard conditions in August 2020. File photo: Pete Rosos

Tilden Regional Park, Wildcat and Claremont canyons and parks throughout the East Bay hills will be closed on Sunday and Monday due to extreme heat and elevated fire danger. 

The East Bay Regional Park District is closing 40 parks in all in Alameda and Contra Costa counties because of “possible high fire risk.”

Parking lots will be fenced off, and signage will be posted redirecting visitors to the district’s shoreline parks, which remain open, said EBRPD Fire Chief Aileen Theile. Parks in the hills with swimming facilities, such as Lake Temescal, will also remain open.

The park district is warning people to not enter closed parks: “If you do, in the event of an emergency, police and firefighters may not be able to find and evacuate you.”

The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory for Berkeley and western Alameda County through the Labor Day weekend. A heat warning is in effect from 11 a.m. Sunday to 8 a.m. Monday for much of the hills and areas to the east, where temperatures are expected to rise to the mid 90s or higher. 

“It’s going to be oppressively hot, and by oppressively hot, we mean an anomaly of three to 15 degrees above normal for five consecutive days,” Theile said. “California and the Bay Area have been in extreme drought conditions for some time, and we have a lot of dead standing trees because of that drought.” 

The NWS does not expect to issue a red flag warning, as it isn’t predicting Diablo winds, but EBRPD’s fire danger operating plan is more sensitive. 

“This doesn’t have the wind but it does have the very low relative humidity, ultra flammable fuels and extreme drought conditions,” Theile said. “That’s causing us to close the park for those two days because we want to minimize the potential for fires in our lands.”

A Spare the Air warning has been issued for the Bay Area on Saturday due to anticipated high levels of smog. 

Here’s the full list of closed parks:

  • Wildcat Canyon
  • Tilden
  • Botanic Garden
  • Sibley
  • Huckleberry
  • Claremont Canyon
  • Reinhardt Redwood
  • Leona Canyon
  • Anthony Chabot (except Campground)
  • Five Canyons
  • Lake Chabot
  • Kennedy Grove
  • Sobrante Ridge
  • Sunol
  • Ohlone
  • Mission Peak
  • Vargas Plateau
  • Garin/ Dry Creek Pioneer
  • Pleasanton Ridge
  • Dublin Hills
  • Sycamore Valley
  • Bishop Ranch
  • Las Trampas
  • Briones Regional Park
  • Crockett Hills
  • Black Diamond Mines
  • Clayton Ranch
  • Contra Loma
  • Thurgood Marshall
  • Deer Valley
  • Round Valley
  • Morgan Territory
  • Brushy Peak
  • Vasco Hills
  • Vasco Caves
  • Shadow Cliffs
  • Waterbird
  • Roberts
  • Diablo Foothills
  • Nejedly Staging Area located in Carquinez Strait

The park district’s shoreline parks and the following swimming facilities will remain open: 

  • Lake Temescal
  • Castle Rock Pool 
  • Cull Canyon
  • Don Castro
  • Quarry Lakes
  • Lake Del Valle

Here are the park district’s recommendations for how to cope with an excessive heat warning: 

  • Cancel outdoor activities during the hottest times of the day.
  • If you do visit open parks, visit early in the day when it is cooler and bring plenty of water.
  • Stay hydrated in a cool place.
  • Find places with air conditioning. Libraries, shopping malls, and community centers can provide a cool place to take a break from the heat. Please seek out cooling centers in your area.
  • If you’re outside, find shade.
  • Wear a hat wide enough to protect your face.
  • Wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
  • Do not use electric fans when the temperature outside is more than 95 degrees. You could increase the risk of heat-related illness. Fans create air flow and a false sense of comfort, but do not reduce body temperature.
  • Avoid high-energy activities. Check yourself, family members, and neighbors for signs of heat-related illness.

SEe More information about wildfires:

Iris Kwok covers the environment for Berkeleyside through a partnership with Report for America. A former music journalist, her work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, KQED, San Francisco Examiner and San Francisco Classical Voice, among other publications. In her spare time, you can find her petting street cats or playing cello. She joined Berkeleyside in June 2022.