Thursday will be the 20th anniversary of the Oakland-Berkeley hills firestorm. At the time it happened, I was house- and pet-sitting for some friends in Alameda. Like a lot of people, I learned about it first from TV -- I was watching the 49ers game, and John Madden circled a cloud of smoke with electronic chalk and said something like: "You see this? This is smoke. Apparently there's a big fire in the Oakland hills." I switched to another channel for news coverage, then ran outside to see for myself when I found out how big it already was.
city website for more info.
There's an exhibit at the Oakland Museum of photographs by Richard Misrach taken in the aftermath of the fire. There's also a special exhibit at the Oakland History Room. Read Annalee Allen's article for more.
Given the huge impact of the fire, there's a lot of press coverage leading up to the anniversary:
Oakland Remembers the 1991 Firestorm
call for photos and stories
Local firefighters reenact the Hills Fire response
After fire, residents build off-the-wall homes
McClouds, Pulaskis, and brush hooks?
Events, exhibits commemorate 20th anniversary
Oakland hills fire: 20 years later
Voices from Oakland Hills Fire
She never thought the fire would jump the freeway
Wind, overgrown trees and brush still a hazard in the hills
By the numbers
After the inferno
Just the first wave of pain for survivors
Families Still Struggling With Loss