FIRESafe MARIN News

Wildfire Safety Blog and News from FIRESafe MARIN.

Drones and Wildfires Don’t Mix

Firefighting Aircraft Can't Fly When Your Drone is in the Air Firefighting Aircraft Can't Fly When Your Drone is in the Air

More than 120 wildfires are burning across 1.6 million acres in the United States. Firefighters aren’t just struggling to battle these blazes, they’re also facing the dangers posed by unauthorized drone flights over or near the fires. Firefighters across the nation have repeatedly been forced to cease helicopter and airplane operations because the presence of drones prevented them from flying safely. In these circumstances, the minutes or hours of flight delay could mean lost lives and destroyed property. 

Federal, state and local fire management agencies and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) urge members of the public not to fly drones over or near wildfires. Unauthorized drone flights pose collision hazards to firefighting aircraft and can distract pilots who are operating in stressful and challenging conditions.  A collision could cause serious injury or death to fire crews in the air, endanger firefighters and members of the public on the ground, and drastically limit the effectiveness of fire suppression efforts.  

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Fire-Prone Plants

Juniper is among the most fire prone plants commonly found in landscaping around homes in Marin and California Juniper is among the most fire prone plants commonly found in landscaping around homes in Marin and California

FIRESafe MARIN provides a searchable list of fire-prone plants that should be avoided in the landscaping around homes in Marin's Wildland-Urban interface areas.  Download a printable PDF copy of the Fire-Prone Plant List here...

IDENTIFYING FIRE-PRONE PLANTS

Use this list to identify Marin's most common fire-prone plants.  These plants ignite readily and burn intensely, and should be avoided (or removed, if noted) if present in a home's Defensible Space zone or close to roads and driveways.  If removal is not an option, intensive maintenance may be required to reduce flammability.  Your fire department may require removal of the plants on this list within 100' of structures.

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CAL FIRE Awards $200,000 in Grants for Marin Wildfire Safety Projects

CAL FIRE's California Climate Investments Foire Prevention Grant Program to benefit Marin residents CAL FIRE's California Climate Investments Foire Prevention Grant Program to benefit Marin residents

CAL FIRE informed FIRESafe MARIN that three grants totalling $200,000 have been awarded to Marin for 2018 wildfire hazard reduction, planning, and education projects.

Through the California Climate Investments (CCI) Fire Prevention Grant Program, CAL FIRE aims to reduce the risk of wildland fires to habitable structures and communities, while maximizing carbon sequestration in healthy wildland habitat and minimizing the uncontrolled release of emissions emitted by wildfires.

$71,288 was awarded to FIRESafe MARIN's Marin County Living With Fire Education Program which will expand upon and distribute a print education program in Marin County, with the goal of reaching all property owners and residents in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) in all SRA and LRA jurisdictions in Marin (approximately 42,000 properties).$53,680 was awarded to Southern Marin Fire District to develop a Wildfire Mitigation Plan for the District.$75,000 was awarded to Marin County Open Spsace District to create a two mile shaded fuel break in Pacheco Valle, Novato, by cutting the annual grasses and removing dead and downed trees up to 200 feet from the structures. The community is actively removing all fire prone vegetation immediately surrounding their homes.
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California Wildfire Record Broken for Second Time in 8 Months

The Mendocino Complex Fire has now surpassed last year's Thomas Fire, which burned 281,893 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, as the largest fire in California history.

[FIRESafe MARIN reminds all Marin residents that a majority of the state's (and nation's) most destructive - and now the largest - wildfires have occurred within 60 miles of your home...]

Catastrophic wildfires continue to ravage California, as one blaze nearly doubled in size over the last three days, making it the largest in the state's history. Thankfully, no one has been injured so far in the Mendocino Complex Fire, which consists of two fires -- the Ranch Fire and the River Fire -- burning around Clear Lake, in Lake and Mendocino counties in Northern California.The Mendocino Complex Fire has now surpassed last year's Thomas Fire, which burned 281,893 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, as the largest fire in California history.  Altogether, the Mendocino Complex Fire has burned 283,800 acres -- growing about 80% since Friday night. As of Monday evening, it was 30% contained and had destroyed 75 residences. Exhausted firefighters across the state, including more than 60 from Marin, are trying to contain 16 major fires that are burning in hot, dry and windy conditions.On Monday, another fast-moving fire ignited in the state -- this time in Orange County, where firefighters battled the Holy Fire that expanded to more than 4,000 acres. That fire started in the Cleveland National Forest and evacuations in the nearby areas have been ordered, according to the Orange County Fire Authority.

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Is Your Landscaping Mulch a Fire Hazard?

mulch_fire_shredded_redwood
HOMEOWNERS SHOULD CHOOSE THE RIGHT LANDSCAPING MULCHES TO REDUCE THE LIKELIHOOD OF IGNITION FROM EMBERS DURING A WILDFIRE AND IMPROVE THE HEALTH OF PLANTS AROUND THEIR HOMES

Mulch has many positive attributes in residential landscaping. It reduces the water requirements of plants, cools the soil temperature, controls weeds and soil erosion, and visually enhances the landscape. But a major drawback is that many are combustible, which presents a huge problem in fire prone areas. Embers from an approaching wildfire can ignite areas where mulch is used. If these areas are adjacent to the home, it could be wind up to be a disastrous mix.

An evaluation of mulch combustibility was performed in 2008 by the University of California Cooperative Extension and the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. The results from this project offer recommendations for uses of mulches in wildfire hazard areas. 

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Lucas Valley Chipper Day August 16

Free Chipper Day Thurs. Aug. 16th - Registration Required

Lucas Valley Homeowners Association and FIRESafe MARIN are sponsoring a free chipepr day for residents of the HOA and Firewise USA Community.

Event Date: 16-Aug-2018 

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Wildfire Evacuation Checklist and Go Kit

UPDATED! Download our printable Evacuation Ckecklist and Family Communication Plan!  Print a copy for every family member and fill out in advance.When an evacuation is anticipated, follow these checklists (if time allows) to give you and your home the best chance of surviving a wildfire.

In General

 Monitor local news and radio stations for fire information.  In Marin, AM740, 810 and FM 88.5 are good options.

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Wildfire Preparedness Week Day 5: Get Set!

Evacuation Preparedness
7 day guide to improving your home and family's wildfire preparedness with easy, inexpensive tips.Day 5: Now that You're Ready, Get Set!

Ready, Set, Go.  If you've followed days 1-4 of our Wildfire Preparedness Week step-by-step planning guide, you've now taken steps to "Ready" your home for wildfire.  By creating Defensible Space, and taking steps to harden your home and maintain fire resistant landscaping, firefighters have a fighting-chance to save your home when wildfire strikes.  Today we'll look at the first stage of preparation to evacuate.

Remember: The 2017 North Bay firestorm was the most destructive wildfire in US historyl ess that 20 miles from Marin.  43 people perished in the fires, most of whom were residents attempting, too late, to evacuate.  In 1991, the second most destructive wildfire in US history killed 25 people in the Oakland/Berkeley Hills less than 10 miles from Marin!  

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Wildfire Preparedness Week Day 4: Choose the Right Plants

Fire Safe Plants and Landscaping
A simple, 7-day guide to improving your home and family's wildfire preparedness with easy, inexpensive tips.Day 4: Choose the Right Plants

Plant selection in your garden and the space surrounding your home can play an important role in protecting your property, and your neighborhood, during a wildfire.  FIRESafe MARIN pioneered the concept of a "fire safe" plant list in the early 1990s, partnering with the University of California to develop a list of fire-resistant landscaping plants specific to Marin county, and northern California's mediterranean climate.  

Marin's Fire Safe Plant List Updated in 2017!

FIRESafe MARIN's "Fire Safe Plant List" was updated last year, the most significant update since it was originally produced in 1998!  We've consolidated the list, and made it searchable online.  Some plants once recommended as "fire-safe" were removed as invasive, and a few new species have been added to help beautify AND protect your home.  We've launched our new website and plant list, and continue to improve and add to the list of recommended plants.  Check back regularly at www.firesafemarin.org/plants!

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Wildfire Preparedness Week Day 3: Expand Your Defensible Space

c-uses-very-little-water-once-established

A simple, 7 day guide to improving your home and family's wildfire preparedness with easy, inexpensive tips.

Defensible space is essential to improve your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire.  It’s the buffer you create between a building on your property and the grass, trees, shrubs, or any wildland area that surround it.  This space is needed to slow or stop the spread of wildfire and it protects your home from catching fire – either from direct flame contact or radiant heat.  Defensible space is also important for the protection of the firefighters defending your home, and it's required by law!

Creating an area of defensible space does not mean you need a ring of bare dirt around your home.  It does not mean you need to remove all of the trees on your property.  It does, however require some planning and upkeep.  With proper planning, you can have both a beautiful drought resistant, low water landscape and a fire safe home.

The defensible space concept is simple: that trees should be limbed up, spaced out, and kept further from your house; shrubs can be closer, but should be kept low and spaced; bedding plants and lawns may be nearest the house.  The use of "hardscaping" like retaining walls, pathways, and clean space near the home will beautify your property and add the finishing touch on a well planned defensible space.

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FIRESafe MARIN   |   P.O. Box 2831  |   San Anselmo, CA 94979   |   info@firesafemarin.org

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