A SCC FireSafe Council, City of Palo Alto and Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District Partnership to Improve Wildland Fire Safety

Page Mill Road is an important wildfire evacuation route for local residents, commuters and visitors. The City of Palo Alto’s 2016 Foothills Fire Management Plan (see page 7, appendix B) identifies removing two large groves of eucalyptus trees along this roadway as the plan’s most significant recommended new treatment area.

The goals of this project are to restore the site to a more natural state that: 

  • Reduces wildfire risk and severity
  • Better supports native plants and wildlife
  • Creates safer ingress and egress along a key wildfire evacuation route
  • Builds on other recently completed Page Mill Road fuel reduction projects for increased community wildfire safety

Eucalyptus are an introduced species from Australia that are highly flammable drop dry flammable debris and can send embers a long distance causing additional ignitions. The eucalyptus trees identified in Palo Alto’s plan are located along the east side of Page Mill Road on public land managed by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (Midpen) within the City of Palo Alto’s boundaries.

Midpen is partnering with the Santa Clara County Fire Safe Council and the City of Palo Alto to implement this project with support from a federal grant. The work began on September 10, 2020 and is expected to finish by mid-October. The project includes site surveys by Midpen-approved biologists and archeologists, to ensure all regulations are followed and care is taken to protect natural and cultural resources.

After eucalyptus removal, native grass seed will be spread on site and a passive restoration plan will be implemented. This plan encourages the growth of existing, more fire-resistant native vegetation on the site, including small oak and toyon trees. The plan also includes monitoring for and removing invasive plant species, and sowing native acorns as needed. 

Contact: Midpen Skyline Area Manager Craig Beckman, (650) 949-1848 cbeckman@openspace.org