FIRESafe MARIN News

Wildfire Safety Blog and News from FIRESafe MARIN.

Rare December Firestorm Erupts in Southern California: Nearly 100,000 Evacuated as Hundreds of Homes Burn

la-me-ventura-fire-20171206

Multiple wildfires are raging in Southern California as of December 6. A series of Santa Ana wind-driven wildfires have destroyed at least 180 structures, forced thousands to flee and smothered the region with smoke in what officials predicted would be a pitched battle for days.

Here’s what you need to know:

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Save the Date! February 9, 2018 Firewise Community Workshop

Save the Date!

Friday, February 9, 2018 FIRESafe Marin will host a community workshop to help Marin neighborhoods understand and organize to achieve Firewise USA recognition.  We'll have representatives from every Marin fire department, land management agencies like MMWD and Open Space, PG&E, and others to help you understand Marin's wildfire risk and develop a plan to address the risk.

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FIRESafe MARIN Meeting Friday, December 8

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2017 AT 9:00AM

1600 LOS GAMOS DRIVE, SAN RAFAELTHIRD FLOOR, OES OFFICES

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Alert Marin: Register TODAY

Your preparedness is not someone else's responsibility.  Register for Alert Marin today and prepare in advance for evacuation.

If a wildfire requires evacuation in Marin and time allows, emergency managers will use the "Alert Marin" system to send out notifications by telephone, cellular, VOIP, and text message.  If you live, work or go to school in Marin County, you may register your cell phone or VoIP (voice over internet protocol) phone to receive emergency alerts sent by call, text, email, or smartphone application from the County of Marin.

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Evacuation Planning in Marin

Law Enforcement Controls Intersection to Speed Up Evacuation
IMPORTANT!  TO RECEIVE EVACUATION NOTICES IN MARIN, YOU MUST REGISTER FOR ALERT MARIN!  WWW.ALERTMARIN.ORG

If you live in Marin, you must be prepared to evacuate from wildfire.  Although Marin's hillside neighborhoods and "Wildland Urban Interface" (WUI) areas are most at risk, the recent fires in Santa Rosa, Sonoma, and Napa show what we've always understood - under extreme conditions and winds, all communities are potentially at risk.  Evacuation planning and disaster preparedness are vital to your family's safety - during large scale and fast moving disasters, you can't count on first-responders arriving to help you in 5 minutes or less like you can on a normal day.

While Marin fire and law enforcement agencies have developed detailed plans and protocols to respond to large wildfires and evacuate residents under variable conditions, it is imperative that residents understand the risk and prepare in advance to evacuate.  The Marin County Fire Chiefs Association and FIRESafe MARIN adopted the Ready-Set-Go wildfire preparedness concept years ago to help educated citizens on their responsibilities and options before, during, and after a wildfire.

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Santa Rosa, Sonoma, Napa: Our Perspective

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FIRESafe MARIN was formed in 1991, shortly after the Tunnel Fire in the Oakland and Berkeley hills burned 3,400 structures and killed 25 people.  Our newfound mission was simple - to bring people, agencies, and landowners together to address Marin's wildfire risk collaboratively.  Along with San Mateo County's newly formed "Fire Safe Council," this idea was a resounding success, and the FIRESafe MARIN, FIRE SAFE San Mateo model was soon adopted nationwide as Fire Safe Councils took our lead and fomed in all 50 states.  We are now in our 26th year.

It's All in the History

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Marin's CWPP: A Plan to Address Marin's Wildfire Hazard

Marin CWPP Cover
Marin County Community WilDfire Protection Plan (CWPP)

In 2015, CAL FIRE awarded FIRESafe MARIN a $123,200 grant from the SRA Fire Prevention Fee Fund to update the 2005 Marin County Community Wildfire Protection Plan, and integrate it with the Marin County Fire Department Unit Strategic Fire Plan.  The plan was completed in 2016, and formally adopted by the Board of Supervisors in early 2017.

A science-based hazard, asset, risk assessment was performed using up-to-date, high resolution topography and fuels information combined with local fuel moisture and weather data. The assessment was focused on identifying areas of concern throughout the county and beginning to prioritize areas where wildfire threat is greatest.  Hazard mitigation efforts can then be focused to address specific issues in the areas of greatest concern (see Sections 4 and 5).

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FAQ: Do I need to clear-cut trees from my property to be "fire safe?"

Trees are ok around a home's defensible space if chosen and located wisely and properly maintained.

 Question:  I have lots of trees on my property.  Am I supposed to cut those down?  It can cost thousands of dollars per tree!   Help!

Answer:  Absolutely not!  Regarding defensible space, we specifically state that mature, native trees rarely need to be removed.  Have an arborist check each tree for health.  Remove all dead wood; remove lower limbs to raise the "skirt" of the trees to at least 6’ above the ground; remove “ladder” fuel such as brush, shrubs, and grass beneath the trees.  Thin the canopy and keep the trees healthy with irrigation appropriate to the species.

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A Fire Safe Home in 7 Days

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Please follow our NEW feature - How to Prepare Your Home and Family For Wildfire in 7-Days!  While wildfire preparedness is a year-round endeavor, you can substantially increase the safety of your family and home in one-week by following our step-by-step guide.

Day 1: Clean Your Roof and Rain Gutters!Day 2: Cut Your Grass!Day 3: Expand Your Defensible SpaceDay 4: Choose the Right PlantsDay 5: Now that You're Ready, Get Set!Day 6: Go! Create an Evacuation PlanDay 7: Help a Neighbor, Organize a Neighborhood
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Should I put a Sprinkler on My Roof (or stand there with a garden hose?)

Don't Be This Guy

Remember that Marin is under a Red Flag Warning from the National Weather Service until 11PM tonight! 

At FIRESafe MARIN, we are very happy to see many Marin neighborhoods becoming engaged about wildfire safety.  During a recent online discussion, one clever neighbor suggested installing "rain-bird" type sprinklers on a roof as a way to prevent embers from igniting a home.  Discussions and suggestions to improve fire safety among neighbors are extremely valuable, and will benefit us all in the long-run.  That said, this particular suggestion (turning on rain-bird sprinklers when a wildfire is burning nearby) is not advised, for a number of reasons.  

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FIRESafe MARIN   |   P.O. Box 2831  |   San Anselmo, CA 94979   |   (415) 570-4FSM {4376}   |   info@firesafemarin.org

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