FIRESafe MARIN News

Wildfire Safety Blog and News from FIRESafe MARIN.

TODAY! Red Flag Warning Issued for Marin County thru Sunday Afternoon

November 10-11, 2018
New Warning to remain in place until SUNDAY Afternoon.  

UPDATE: Winds are gusting to 28MPH at Middle Peak on Mt Tamalpais as of 9am Sunday

Don't be fooled by the cool weather.  A combination of extremely low relative humidity and locally strong winds make for critical fire weather in the North Bay this weekend.

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Quick Tips: Takeaways from the Camp Fire in Butte County

Camp Fire Evacuation

2017 and 2018 have marked a year of lessons learned for communities and firefighters across California.  In 2017, less than 1 year ago, the Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa broke the record for homes destroyed by a single wildfire in modern US history.  One month later, the Thomas Fire in Southern California became the largest wildfire in California history.  Those records didn't last long.  The Camp Fire in Butte County started two days ago and is now the most destructive wildfire - burning nearly 7,000 homes and destroying an entire city in just a few hours.  The 2018 Mendocino Complex fires shattered the Thomas fire's record after only 8 months, burning almost 3 times the area of what is now the second largest California fire.

While it's too early to know exactly what we'll learn from the Camp Fire, stories coming home from the front-lines reinforce a few important points about evacuations and protecting homes.

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Marin Leads California in Firewise USA Sites

Firewise USA Sign at the Entrance to a recognize Firewise site

Marin now leads California in the number of recognized Firewise USA Communities ("sites")

With 24 recognized communities as of November 10, 2018, Marin has more Firewise sites than any other county in California, and we are now the fastest growing county in the United States!  We've added 15 new communities in 2018, and plan to more than double that next year with the help of active neighborhood leaders and energized residents.

The Firewise USA Program encourages local solutions for safety by involving homeowners in taking individual responsibility for preparing their homes from the risk of wildfire. The program provides resources to help homeowners learn how to adapt to living with wildfire while encouraging and empowering neighbors to work together to take action now to reduce their wildfire risk and prevent losses.  Join the growing network of more than 1,500 recognized Firewise USA communities taking action and ownership in preparing and protecting their homes against the threat of wildfire.   

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Red Flag Warning Issued for Marin County

Red-Flag-Warning-11-08-18
Warning to remain in place until Friday morning.

Marin County, CA --  The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for the North Bay Mountains and other parts of the Bay Area, which is in effect from 10 PM Wednesday to 7 AM Friday November 9th.

A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are expected during this time frame with a combination of strong North East winds with gusts to 60 miles per hour and low relative humidity.

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One Year Ago, Tonight: The North Bay Fires

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One year ago, tonight, the most destructive wildfires in California history ignited in the North Bay, destroying nearly 10,000 structures and killing 43 citizens.  In the following 10 months, California saw the two largest wildfires ever recorded in the state, and thousands more homes burned.  Let's not forget the lessons learned during this unprecedented year, and let's work together to make sure it doesn't happen again.  Fire season is NOT over in Marin, and it's not too late to prepare.

Evacuation Preparedness GuideCreating Defensible SpaceHardening Your HomeMarin's Firewise USA Program
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FAQs: "Has anyone told FIRESafe MARIN that it rained this week. Why are you issuing a Red Flag Warning?!"

We received several angry emails this week when the Red Flag Warning for predicting severe fire weather was issued.  Each message contained the same refrain - aren't you overreacting since it just rained last week? 

A Red Flag Warning is issued by the United States National Weather Service, not FIRESafe MARIN.  All Red Flag Warnings are related to predicted weather and fuel moistures, and weather and fuel conditions must meet specific criteria.  A small amount of rainfall during the summer and fall months usually not increase live or dead fuel moistures significantly.   Current knowledge of fuels and fire behavior tells us that live fuel moistures can still at a critical level, and dead fuels will dry to their pre-rainfall level within 10 hours during a low humidity wind event.  

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Webinar: Wildfires and Insurance - How to be financially prepared

Wednesday, October 10, 12:00-1:00 pmWildfires and insurance: learn how to be financially prepared

Presenters: Kenton Brine, Northwest Insurance Council, Janet Ruiz, Insurance Information Institute, Carole Walker, Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association

The 2018 Fire Prevention Week theme is "Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fires can happen anywhere." As part of this year’s annual campaign, a panel of insurance experts will share important homeowners insurance information, along with details on what to expect while navigating the post-fire claim process during an October 10 webinar. The panel will provide helpful insights in addition to a live 15-minute question and answer session.  

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New Firewise Resources for Homeowners and Resident Leaders

This is Fire Prevention Week and the 2018 theme is: Look. Listen. Learn. Be Aware. Fire can happen anywhere. In conjunction with the campaign, the Firewise USA® program is launching new resources that are being added to our website. Coinciding with the theme, each of the three resources have a Look (Video), Listen (Webinar) and Learn (Online Learning Module) component.  We encourage you to share the video, promote the Online Learning Module educational tool, and participate in the associated webinar.

Your Home and Wildfire

Choices that can make a difference video (approx.. 4-minutes) was launched today, Monday, October 10 and can be accessed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfbEcMeYFFA

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Overnight Wildfire in West Marin Forces Evacuations

CHP_copter_video_frame CHP Helicopter Video - click on video embedded in story, below.

A wildfire burning near Samuel P Taylor State Park in West Marin forced evacuations of hundreds of residents of Lagunitas, with evacuation warnings for residents of Lagunitas, Forest Knolls, and San Geronimo.  The "Irving Fire" (#IrvingFire) was reported to be 100 acres, burning near the Irving Creek drainage near the Mt Barnabe/Dickson Fire Lookout.  Evacuation orders and warnings remain in place (learn more about evacuation terminolgy and preparedness here).

Current Wildfire information is available form Marin County Fire Department via social media (Twitter, Facebook).  All San Geronimo Valley residents should ensure they are registered for Alert Marin (first), Nixle (second), and monitor the situation on social media, local radio, and TV throughout the day.  Please read FIRESafe MARIN's Evacuation Guide and take steps to prepare your home for wildfire TODAY!

Continue reading for additional information and resources.

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Alert Marin - Emergency Notification System

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Alert Marin is NOT NIXLE!  Do not assume that you are registered for Alert Marin just because you receive "Nixle" notices from your local police department or school district!

Get alerted about emergencies and other important community news by signing up for Marin's ONLY Emergency Alert Program.  Alert Marin enables us to provide you with critical information quickly in a variety of situations, such as wildfires, severe weather, flooding, earthquakes, missing persons, and evacuations of buildings or neighborhoods.  

In Marin, the “Alert Marin” notification system is used by all fire and law enforcement agencies to make emergency and evacuation notifications.  You must register your phone(s) and address at www.alertmarin.org.You will receive time-sensitive messages for any locations you specify, such as your home, mobile or business phones, email address, text messages and more. You pick where, you pick how.

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FIRE IN MARIN: FREE 2 HOUR SEMINAR

Fire in Marin Flyer Fire in Marin Flyer
Free 2-hour seminar for Marin residents

Marin resident and FIRESafe MARIN volunteer Katherine Randolph provides an excellent introductory seminar on wildfire safety - "Fire in Marin" - free to Marin residents.  FIRESafe MARIN endorses this curriculum as a basic introduction to wildfire history and safety concepts for homeowners.  Your local Fire Department will be in attendance.

Come learn why our Marin communities are at great risk for a catastrophic fire and what you can do about it. Learn how to create and implement attractive landscaping that complies with your Fire Department’s Defensible Space regulations, how to make your home more fire resistant and what you need to know to be ready to evacuate if needed.

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Equine Emergency Planning and Response - Marin County

Wildfire Horse Evacuation Wildfire Horse Evacuation

Preparing horses or other large animals for a wildfire evacuation requires an extra level of planning, preparedness, and practice. Building an evacuation kit (PDF, 8 MB) for each horse, and having a plan for them that’s been practiced, increases the potential your horse(s) will be able to leave when you do. If the wildfire’s proximity does not permit the time needed to load horses, it’s best to turn them loose and not leave them confined in a barn or pasture. Close the doors and gates so they can’t re-enter the area. 

Learn more at the FIRESafe MARIN Large Animal Evacuation page.

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Frequently Asked Questions

FIRESafe MARIN recently began compliling a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and posting to our website, to help Marin residents find quick answers to their questions and to assist our volunteers and staff to provide consistent, accurate information.

Please take a look at http://firesafemarin.org/faq and feel free to email us questions you think should be listed at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Wildfires and insurance: learn how to be financially prepared - WEBINAR

Wednesday, October 10, 12:00-1:00 pm (Pacific)

Plan to watch this important webinar!

This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme is “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fires can happen anywhere.” More and more, it’s true that damaging wildfires can happen just about anywhere. Take this opportunity to listen and learn to insurance experts about what you can do today to be prepared should the worst happen. Presenters will cover the importance of doing an “insurance check-up” with your agent, how to understand what your insurance covers – and what it might not – and how to make a home inventory of your possessions. Take this opportunity to directly ask insurance experts your questions about wildfire and home insurance. It might be the most helpful 60 minutes you spend this year.

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FIRESafe MARIN Meeting Friday, September 14

FIRESafe MARIN will hold a regular meeting Friday, September 14 at 9am, 100 Marin Valley Drive, Novato, CA 94949 (Directions).

FIRESafe MARIN meetings are open to the public and are typically held the second Friday of each month.  Meetings start at 9:00 AM and usually last about 2 hours.  Board members and agency representatives will have an opportunity to provide updates at the "once around the table."  Members of the public may have opportunities to address the Board of Directors, time depending.  

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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

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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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Early Season Wind Event to Impact Marin Hills Friday Night

Friday_Night_Winds

An early season offshore wind event will occur Friday Night.  Strong Winds are predicted Friday Night for North and East Bay Hills.  This is an unusual early season wind event with the potential to contribute to wildfires.  A Red Flag Warning has not been issued due to the relatively high moisture levels present in local vegetation, however precautions should be taken.  Follow FIRESafe MARIN's Wildfire Preparedness Weeks steps TODAY!

UPDATED INFORMATIONThis is the first issuance for the upcoming wind eventIMPACTS*Impact 1 (Strong winds) : (see attached gust graphic)Strongest winds arrive around 8 pm Friday night in the Napa HillsWinds spread over the East Bay, Marin and Santa Cruz mountains Friday NightSustained winds 20-35 mph with frequent gusts in excess of 50 mphWeakened trees, limbs and power lines may be compromised. *Impact 2 (Possible Wildfires):Wind driven fires will be possible during period of peak winds.Fuels are still fairly moist so fire will need strong winds to actively spreadTemperatures during the day Friday will be one of the hottest days so far this year.Low night time humidity recovery is expected due to strong winds and good mixing*Impact 3 (Beach Safety):Warm temperatures Friday and Saturday may bring extra people to area beaches.Cold ocean temps and constant ocean hazards such as rip currents and sneaker waves can be deadly. Current Watches/Warnings/Advisories:A High Wind Watch has been posted for the North and East Bay Hills Friday Night.Quick look at all hazards in the state: http://1.usa.gov/1boSTTWFORECAST CONFIDENCEConfidence is moderate at this time due to the event still being 3 days out.TIMINGStrongest winds Friday night. Dry weather the next 7 days.Hottest day will be Friday.LOCATIONS

The hills of the North and East Bay, especially above 1500 feet as well as the highest ridges of the Santa Cruz mountains later Friday night. 

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Wildfire Preparedness Week Day 2: Cut Your Grass!

Marin Grass Fire
It's Wildfire Preparedness Week.  Follow our daily updates for an easy, step by step guide to protecting your home!

This week, FIRESafe MARIN will provide a simple, 7 day guide to improving your home and family's wildfire preparedness with simple, easy, inexpensive tips.

Day 2: Cut Your Grass!

Marin's grasslands provide the fuel for our most frequent and fast moving wildfires.  Dry grass is particularly susceptible to ignition -  carelessly dropped cigarettes, illegal fireworks, mower blades, and hot car mufflers frequently ignite grass fires.  These fast-moving fires damage and destroy homes every year in California and Marin, often in the first few minutes of a wildfire before firefighters arrive.

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Wildfire Preparedness Week Day 1: Clean Your Roof and Rain Gutters!

This is Wildfire Preparedness Week.  Follow our daily updates for an easy, step by step guide to protecting your home!

This week, FIRESafe MARIN will provide a simple, 7 day guide to improving your home and family's wildfire preparedness with simple, easy, inexpensive tips.

Day 1: Clean Your Roof and Rain Gutters!

The single most effective step you can take to protect your home TODAY is to clean all leaves, needles, and debris from your roof and rain gutters!  The most vulnerable part of your home is typically the roof.  Although Class "A" roof construction, required in most Marin jurisdictions for nearly 20 years, is more resistant to fire, even a small handful of leaves or needles can ignite your "fire resistant" roofing.  Fire inspectors find that most homeowners do not properly maintain their roofs, leaving Marin's neighborhoods vulnerable to wildfires.

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Southern Marin Fire District to Host 3 "Ready Marin" Events

Southern Marin Fire Chief Chris Tubbs and Battalion Chief Kai Pasquale will discuss Lessons Learned during the recent Sonoma and Napa County Fires, including evacuation tips. 

What can we do to lessen the risks to our community from wildland fires?

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Changes to the 2018 Firewise USA Renewal Criteria

Last year, in collaboration with a small working group of state liaisons, NFPA’s wildfire division reviewed each component of the Firewise USA™ program’s new and renewal requirements. The application criteria had not been updated for more than fourteen years and a stakeholder review was long overdue to ensure the requirements reflected the science-based risk reduction actions needed throughout the home ignition zones.

Based on the group’s input and feedback, along with data analysis collected from previous years, several changes were made to the renewal criteria. Many of the components remain unchanged, the major update was to the risk reduction investment formula. The previous per capita calculation has been replaced with a residence based equivalent of $24.14 per dwelling unit.

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Cascade Canyon in Fairfax Recognized as Marin's Newest Firewise USA Site!

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FIRESafe MARIN congratulates Cascade Canyon in Fairfax for achieving national recognition as a Firewise USA™ site!  It is with great pleasure that we welcome Cascade Canyon to the growing number of Firewise sites in Marin, joining with residents throughout the nation who are working to reduce their wildfire risks.

Cascade Canyon's effort to achieve Firewise recognition began before the North bay fires of October 2017, and demonstrates the effectiveness of community organizing to reduce wildfire hazards.  Their group is among Marin's most active and effective, and FIRESafe MARIN looks forward to a productive 2018 with numerous fire safety projects planned for this spring and summer in beautiful Cascade Canyon!

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Homestead Valley Hosts Successful Chipper Days

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The Homestead Valley neighborhood held a succesful Chipper Day last week as part of a community effort to prevent wildfires.  Residents removed vegetation to help create defensible space for 27 homes on Madrone Park Circle in the unincorporated communitynear Mill Valley.

The chipper day is considered an investment as part of Homestead Valley's Firewise accreditation, the Homestead Valley Land Trust Firewise site, encompassing 990 homes and nearly 4,000 residents. FIRESafe MARIN will provide a $1,500 matching Firewise grant, while Southern Marin Fire Protection District supported the project with $2,500, and more than $3,000 was be contributed byt the neighborhood trust.  Residents paid more than $20,000 to cut the yard waste that was stacked in piles along the roadside. 

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Goat Grazing Project Underway in Sleepy Hollow and Terra Linda

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A herd of 400 goats began grazing the hills of Sleepy Hollow and Terra Linda last week to reduce wildfire fuels.  The large-scale fuel reduction project was initiated by Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District (SHFPD), in cooperation with Marin County Open Space District, FIRESafe MARIN, San Domenico School, Rocking H Ranch, and Triple C Ranch. Goats will graze more tha 140 acres of vegetation across private and public lands to further reduce the risk of wildfire within the region over a three month period.

A herder from Star Creek Land Stewards will set up temporary camps and allow goats to graze specific areas within the 1,172-acre Terra Linda/Sleepy Hollow Open Space Preserve through mid-May. Priority areas include fire roads and preserve edges where grazing helps maintain defensible space near homes. Herding and protection dogs will be off leash as needed, so the MCOSD is asking visitors to help by not allowing other dogs to chase or harass the goats or herding dogs.  Goats will move to San Domenico School in late May where they will reduce vegetation fuel on more than 20 acres, before walking to nearby Triple-C Ranch in June.  Rocking H Ranch in Lucas Valley is also cooperating in this project, and has succesfully used goats to reduce vegetation in several prior years.

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San Rafael to Offer Free Juniper/bamboo Chipping and Collection Program

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The San Rafael Fire Department is sponsoring a program to help reduce the fuel load and provide better defensible space around your home. The City of San Rafael adopted an Ordinance with Vegetation Management Standards for parcels located in designated Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) areas. The WUI Ordinance requires the creation of Defensible Space around homes that are located in the high fire hazard areas.

Here’s what to do:

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Free Wildfire Preparedness Symposium for West Marin Communities This Sunday!

Free Wildfire Preparedness Symposium for West Marin Communities March 11, 2018

The Inverness Foundation in cooperation with FIRESafe Marin, Marin County Fire Department, Inverness Fire, Marin County CERT, County of Marin, Audubon Canyon Ranch the National Park Service and others will present a Free Symposium on Sunday, March 11th from 1-4:30 at the Dance Palace in Pt Reyes Station.

Topics will include:

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Firewise Workshop for Neighborhood Organizers: Friday, February 9

Marin Firewise Workshop February 9, 2018

FIRESafe MARIN will host a "Firewise Workshop" in Novato, February 9, 2018 from 11:00 am-2:00 pm.

You Can Help Organize Your Neighborhood!

This community workshop will help Marin neighborhoods prepare and organize to achieve Firewise USA recognition.  Learn about the benefits and challenges of Firewise recognition for your neighborhood, while preparing a plan to help your community survive a wildfire.  We'll have representatives from local fire departments, land management agencies like MMWD, Open Space, PG&E, and others to help you understand Marin's wildfire risk and develop a neighborhood-scale plan to address the risk.

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Marin Town Hall on Wildfire Preparedness: Saturday, February 10

Marin Town Hall on Wildfire Preparedness: Saturday, February 10, 2018

Assemblymember Marc Levine and FIRESafe MARIN invite you to hear what state, county, and local governments are doing to prepare for wildfires and how we plan to improve fire safety in Marin.  Learn how to prepare your family, home and property in case of disaster.

A focus of the Town Hall is to inform residents of the work that agencies and individuals have done to plan for a fire disaster and to let them know how wildfire disasters will be handled in Marin County.

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Can Marin Avoid a Firestorm? Marin IJ Live Forum: Wed, January 24

Marin Wildfire Danger
Marin IJ Public Affairs Show Spotlights Wildfire Danger

Marin Independent Journal

Wildfire experts agree that it’s not a question of if, but when a major wildfire will torch Marin County’s hillsides. The debate centers on whether Marin is doing all it can to prepare for the inevitable firestorm.

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URGENT! RED FLAG WARNING Issued for Marin County Through Sun, Dec 17

Red Flag Warning issued for Marin County, California December 15-17, 2017

The National Weather Service has issued a RED FLAG WARNING for Marin County from Friday at 10 pm through Sunday at 10 am.  This type of fire weather is extremely unusual in Marin in December - based on this season's events, FIRESafe MARIN urges Marin residents to take extreme precautions in the coming days.  Strong northerly winds are predicted in the North Bay hills, with very low humidities and unusually low fuel-moistures.  The NWS upgraded this from a Fire Weather Watch to a  RED FLAG WARNING early Friday, based on observed conditions.

What Can I Do to Prepare?

FIRESafe MARIN has developed a 7 step (7-day) guide to quickly preparing your home and family for wildfire, all in less than 1 hour per-day.  We recommend that TODAY you read and complete Day 1: Clean your roof and rain gutters, and Day 5: Now That You're Ready, Get Set! in advance of the predicted fire-weather.

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Open Burning Ban Reinstated in Marin Due to Predicted Fire Weather

Burn Ban in Effect for Marin County

With a National Weather Service warning in place for high winds coming this weekend, Marin County Fire Department Chief Jason Weber has indefinitely suspended open burning in Marin County.

Please refrain from pile burning until after the predicted fire weather recedes.{NOTE: FIRESafe MARIN recommends that Marin residents refrain from any outdoor activity with open flames or sparks, including gas or charcoal barbecues, welding, grinding, or power tool use}

“We are suspending open burning because of predicted fire weather, the lack of precipitation, and unusually dry fuel conditions for this time of year,” Weber said on December 14. “This directive will remain in effect until adequate precipitation is received and fuel conditions are moderated.”

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Wildfire Evacuation Guide Updated

STOP!  Don't do anything before reading our Wildfire Evacuation Guide

FIRESafe MARIN, in cooperation with the Marin County Fire Chiefs Association, has updated our online Wildfire Evacuation Guide with new information and intitial updates from lessons learned during the recent North Bay wildfires.

Learn about:

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  1540 Hits

Save the Date! February 9, 2018 Firewise Community Workshop

Firewise recognition empowers neighborhoods to prepare for and survive wildfires.

Friday, February 9, 2018 from 11am - 2 pm, FIRESafe MARIN will host a community workshop to help Marin neighborhoods organize to achieve Firewise USA recognition.  Learn about the benefits and challenges of Firewise recognition for your neighborhood, while preparing a plan to help your community surviive a wildfire.  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.

The Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program is a process that empowers neighbors to work together in reducing their wildfire risk. Join the growing network of more than 1,028 recognized Firewise communities (12 neighborhoods in Marin!) taking action and ownership in preparing and protecting their homes against the threat of wildfire.   

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  1269 Hits

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

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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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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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  1948 Hits

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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  4294 Hits

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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  1198 Hits

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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  11296 Hits

FIRESafe MARIN Nears Completion on Several Vegetation Management Projects

Roadside Vegetation Removal in Larkspur's Madrone Canyon improves evacuation routes

Each year, FIRESafe MARIN conducts a variety of fire hazard reduction projects in Marin County's Wildland/Urban Interface (WUI) areas.  Projects are funded through Federal, State, and local grants, private grants from partners such as PG&E, and private contributions and donations.

2014-2017 were FIRESafe MARIN's most successful years ever.  In 2017 several new grants were awarded to fund our wildfire prevention projects, bringing the four-year funding total to $1,249,773.  Our fuel reduction and wildfire prevention efforts in span the entire county, from West Marin to Sausalito, involving thousands of volunteer hours and dozens of state, federal, and local public land management agencies, private homeowner's associations, businesses, PG&E, and every Marin fire agency.  

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9 Marin Communities Achieve Firewise Recognition. Is Yours Next?

FIRESAFE MARIN CAN HELP YOUR COMMUNITY ACHIEVE FIREWISE RECOGNITION!  SOME INSURANCE COMPANIES NOW OFFER SUBSTANTIAL DISCOUNTS TO HOMEOWNERS LOCATED IN RECOGNIZED FIREWISE COMMUNITIES.  CONTACT FIRESAFE MARIN FOR DETAILS.

The Firewise Communities/USA Recognition Program is a process that empowers neighbors to work together in reducing their wildfire risk. Join the growing network of more than 1,028 recognized Firewise communities taking action and ownership in preparing and protecting their homes against the threat of wildfire.   

SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH HAS SHOWN THE EFFECTIVENESS AND BENEFITS OF IMPLEMENTING WILDFIRE MITIGATION CONCEPTS ACROSS INDIVIDUAL PROPERTY BOUNDARIES AND THROUGHOUT COMMUNITIES.

Using a five-step process, communities develop an action plan that guides their residential risk reduction activities, while engaging and encouraging their neighbors to become active participants in building a safer place to live. Neighborhoods throughout the United States are embracing the benefits of becoming a recognized Firewise Community – and you can too!

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  1056 Hits

Wildfires Raging in California.

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Dozens of Marin Firefighters from every local fire department are deployed across California battling wildfires.  Extreme fire weather conditions have contributed to rapidly growing wildfires in nearly every county in California.  Marin is no exception - complete your defensible space, harden your home, and prepare for evacuation TODAY before it's too late.  

As California's fire season is fully underway, there are approximately 5,000 firefighters out battling 14 large blazes across the state as of Sunday. Cal Fire officials say they are anticipating thunderstorms in parts of the state as a low-pressure trough brings a slight cooling trend.

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  2009 Hits

Don't Fly Your Drone Near Wildfires!

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It may seem like fun to take some aerial action photography when a wildfire is burning in Marin.  DON'T DO IT!  FIREFIGHTING AIRCRAFT fly low and fast, often beneath the 400' hobby aircraft ceiling.  If a hobby drone is spotted anywhere in the vicinity of a wildfire (during a wildfire, airspace is closed for several miles in all directions), all firefighting aircraft will be grounded for safety, and you may be responsible for their inability to fight the fire.  Flying a drone near a wildfire is a crime and puts firefighters, pilots and anyone living in the path of the fire at risk.

The first fire season since the end of California’s historic five-year drought is off to a raging start, with blazes burning throughout much of the state this weekend.  As of early Sunday, firefighters are battling 16 active wildfires that have scorched nearly 49,000 acres amid a summer heat wave, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection reported on its statewide fire map.

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  1691 Hits

Are You Registered With Alert Marin?

Register with Alert Marin to receive text and phone alerts in the event of an evacuation or emergency in your community!

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 and are 18 and over, 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.

Listed and unlisted/blocked Marin County landline phone numbers are already included in the Alert Marin emergency notification system.  Cell phone and VoIP numbers are not included and will require your registration in our Self-Registration Portal.

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  4840 Hits

FREE Firewise Class - CANCELLED

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We we are very sorry to announce that this class has been CANCELLED.  FIRESafe MARIN and Mill valley fire department will work to reschedule the class in the future. Thank you for your understanding. FREEE 1-Day On-Site Workshop Sponsored by Mill Valley Fire Department and FIRESafe MARIN

Open to all Marin residents.  This is a great class for homeowners, landscapers, insurance professionals, tree workers, firefighters, or anyone interested in reducing the risk of wildfire around their home and in their neighborhood.

It’s NOT ‘luck’ or ‘a miracle’ when homes survive wildfires! We know that we can’t change the path of a tornado, but we can change the path of a wildfire! Our homes and communities can survive, even severe wildfires!

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  1279 Hits

Upcoming Chipper Days

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FIRESafe MARIN supports community chipper days across Marin each year.  Check for your neighborhood and prepare your Defensible Space today!

West Marin

July 8 - 9, 2017 - West Marin/Nicasio

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  1422 Hits

Conservation Talk: Fire Ecology - Sat, June 24

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Fire Ecology with Dr. Sasha Berleman - Sat, June 24, 11am –12:30 pm. Martin Griffin Preserve, Stinson Beach

Tickets: $20 non-member / $15 member or student / FREE for children under age 18.

Register Online!

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  1448 Hits

Marin Wildfire Partnerships VIDEO: MMWD "A Day in the Life of a Watershed Ranger"

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MMWD - A Day in the Life of a Watershed Ranger

Take a look at this excellent video profiling FIRESafe MARIN's partner in wildfire prevention - Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD).  Stunning photography underscores the importance of protecting Mt Tam.

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  1158 Hits

60 Minutes: Why fighting wildfires often fails -- and what to do about it

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More than 100M Americans live in or near forests and grasslands that can erupt in flames. Steve Inskeep reports on fighting wildfires, which cost federal agencies almost $2B last year

Fighting wildfires in America cost federal agencies almost $2 billion last year including more than half the budget of the U.S. Forest Service. Wildland fires are growing worse in a time of drought and climate change, and the biggest and most destructive fires can't be stopped. They are a force of nature: imagine trying to stop a hurricane. Yet the government has to try, because more than a 100 million Americans now live in -- or near -- forests and grasslands that can erupt in flames.

This excellent 60 Minutes news magazine program featured a segment called "In the Path of Fire." In just over 12 minutes, the episode accurately summarizes the sobering reality of wildfires in the US -- the increasing frequency of large, extreme fires, the spiraling costs of fighting these fires, and the toll on life and property in the areas where more and more people live, known as the wildland/urban interface. Fire scientist Dr. Jack Cohen, whose research has formed the basis for how NFPA works to help homes and communities become ignition resistant, is featured.

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  1086 Hits

PG&E Awards $99,000 in Grants to FIRESafe MARIN to Improve Wildfire Evacuation Routes and Reduce Vegetation

SAN RAFAEL, Calif.—Even though the drought emergency is over, the damage has already been done. The drought and bark beetle infestation have killed more than 100 million trees in California, and U.S. Forest Service scientists expect elevated levels of tree mortality to continue this year in some areas. That’s why Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is working with Fire Safe Councils across its service area to reduce the threat of wildfire. The company is awarding $2 million in funding to local Fire Safe Councils, including $99,000 to FIRESafe MARIN.

This year, PG&E will be funding 43 local Fire Safe Council and other 501(c)3 projects in 21 counties.  Four projects are in Marin County and will specifically target combustible vegetation along evacuation routes, as identified in the 2016 Marin County Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) found here: www.firesafemarin.org/cwpp. The goal of each project is to reduce roadside vegetation fuel that might threaten the safe evacuation of residents during a wildfire in specific neighborhoods of Larkspur, Mill Valley, Corte Madera and Tamalpais Valley.

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  1109 Hits

2017 Mill Valley Evacuation Drill: Saturday, May 20


The City of Mill Valley conducts an annual emergency evacuation exercise every spring. The drill helps raise disaster awareness and provide residents with an opportunity to practice evacuating from their homes to a safe location.  

FIRESafe MARIN will have a booth at the Evacuation Drill Preparedness Fair at Tamalpais High School from 9-12, with information on creating Defensible Space, FIREWISE Community recognition, and an opportunity to speak to wildfire experts about your concerns.Saturday, May 20, 2017  |  9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Evacuating Neighborhoods: EDGEWOOD/HOMESTEAD VALLEY NEIGHBORHOODS

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Wildfire Preparedness Week, Day 7: Help a Neighbor, Organize a Neighborhood

Pacheco Valle/Marin Valley Firewise Day 2017
Wildfire Preparedness Week is May 1-7, 2017.  Follow our daily updates for an easy, step by step guide to protecting your home!

This week, FIRESafe MARIN will provide a simple, 7 day guide to improving your home and family's wildfire preparedness with simple, easy, inexpensive tips.

Day 7: Help a Neighbor, Organize a Neighborhood

Now that you've followed our step-by-step guide to preparing your home and family for wildfire, why not organize your entire neighborhood?  In order to be truly "fire safe," every home in your community needs to play its part in preparing, by creating defensible space and using fire-safe building materials and practices.

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  1021 Hits

Visit Us at the Marin Civic Center Farmers Market - TODAY!

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Visit FIRESafe MARIN at the Marin Civic Center Farmer's Market TODAY, May 7, 2017 from 8AM-1PM.  Our booth will have information on our programs and services, and you'll have an opportunity to speak to wildfire experts who can help you select the right plants and building materials to ensure your home survives a wildfire.  Learn more about the Marin County Community Wildfire Protection Plan, free chipper days, or sign up for the upcoming Assessing Residential Fire Hazards class - this is a great opportunity to connect with FIRESafe MARIN and all we offer. 

Our partner PG&E will have information on powerline safety and their vegetation management program that helps protect Marin communities from wildfires.

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  1248 Hits

Wildfire Preparedness Week, Day 6: Go! Create an Evacuation Plan

Wildfire Preparedness Week, Day 6: Go!  Create an Evacuation Plan
Wildfire Preparedness Week is May 1-7, 2017.  Follow our daily updates for an easy, step by step guide to protecting your home!

This week, FIRESafe MARIN will provide a simple, 7 day guide to improving your home and family's wildfire preparedness with simple, easy, inexpensive tips.

Day 6: Go!  Create an Evacuation Plan

 Ready, Set, Go.  If you've followed days 1-5 of our Wildfire Preparedness Week step-by-step planning guide, you've now taken steps to "Ready" your home for wildfire, and are "set" to evacuate when the time is right.  Today we'll look at the last step in a process that we hope you'll never face - evacuate.

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  1430 Hits

Have You Registered Your Cell Phone for "AlertMarin?"

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ALERT MARIN

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 and are 18 and over, 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.

Listed and unlisted/blocked Marin County landline phone numbers are already included in the Alert Marin emergency notification system.  Cell phone and VoIP numbers are not included and will require your registration in our Self-Registration Portal.

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  910 Hits

Wildfire Preparedness Week, Day 5: Now that You're Ready, Get Set!

Wildfire Preparedness Week, Day 5: Now that You're Ready, Get Set!
Wildfire Preparedness Week is May 1-7, 2017.  Follow our daily updates for an easy, step by step guide to protecting your home!

This week, FIRESafe MARIN will provide a simple, 7 day guide to improving your home and family's wildfire preparedness with simple, 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.

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  1122 Hits

Wildfire Preparedness Week, Day 4: Choose Fire Safe Plants

Wildfire Preparedness Week, Day 4: Choose Fire Safe Plants
Wildfire Preparedness Week is May 1-7, 2017.  Follow our daily updates for an easy, step by step guide to protecting your home!

This week, FIRESafe MARIN will provide a simple, 7-day guide to improving your home and family's wildfire preparedness with simple, 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.  

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  913 Hits

Download the New "Ready for Wildfire" App!

THE READY FOR WILDFIRE MOBILE APP IS NOW AVAILABLE!

FIRESafe MARIN loves the new "Ready for Wildfire" app, published by our partners at CAL FIRE.  Available for iOS and Android, this app is a great tool for any California resident concerned about wildfires.

DOWNLOAD HERE  Features include:

Checklists with steps for:

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Wildfire Preparedness Week, Day 3: Expand Your Defensible Space

Wildfire Preparedness Week, Day 3: Expand Your Defensible Space

Wildfire Preparedness Week is May 1-7, 2017.  Follow our daily updates for an easy, step by step guide to protecting your home!

This week, FIRESafe MARIN will provide a simple, 7 day guide to improving your home and family's wildfire preparedness with simple, easy, inexpensive tips.

Day 3: Expand Your Defensible Space

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 Programs and Services

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FIRESafe MARIN offers a variety of programs to assist Marin residents, homeowners, landowners, business owners, and stakeholders assistance and information related to wildfire prevention and preparedness.  

We offer community assistance through our Chipper Program, and work with fire and land management agencies managing grants and private funds to conduct hazardous vegetation removal projects throughout Marin.  In 2015, FIRESafe MARIN worked with PG&E and Marin County Fire Department to install a state-of-the-art Wildfire Detection Camera System.  In 2016, we again partnered with Marin County Fire Department and Cal Fire to complete a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP).

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  972 Hits

Wildfire Preparedness Week, Day 2: Cut Your Grass!

Wildfire Preparedness Week, Day 2: Cut Your Grass!
Wildfire Preparedness Week is May 1-7, 2017.  Follow our daily updates for an easy, step by step guide to protecting your home!

This week, FIRESafe MARIN will provide a simple, 7 day guide to improving your home and family's wildfire preparedness with simple, easy, inexpensive tips.

Day 2: Cut Your Grass!

Marin's grasslands provide the fuel for our most frequent and fast moving wildfires.  Dry grass is particularly susceptible to ignition -  carelessly dropped cigarettes, illegal fireworks, mower blades, and hot car mufflers frequently ignite grass fires.  These fast-moving fires damage and destroy homes every year in California and Marin, often in the first few minutes of a wildfire before firefighters arrive.

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  1027 Hits

Sleepy Hollow Chipper Days: Friday & Saturday, May 5-6

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Chipper Days: May 5 & 6 (DROP-OFF ONLY)

Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District, with Ross Valley Fire Department and FIRESafe MARIN will conduct four chipper days in 2017!   The first will be a DROP-OFF chipper day this Friday and Saturday, May 5 & 6, 2017.   Sleepy Hollow residents can clean up their property to create defensible space and bring us your cut material - we'll dispose of the vegetation at no cost to you!  This service is available to Sleepy Hollow residents only.

2017 Sleepy Hollow Chipper Day ScheduleMay 5 & 6, 2017DROP-OFF ONLYTime(s): 10AM-2PM (May 5) 9AM-3PM (May 6)Location: End of Butterfield Rd.No registration required July 1-2, 2017Curbside Pick-UpTime: 9AM-4PMLocation: At the curbside in front of your home.Online registration required! (Registration begins June 1) August 26-27, 2017 (tentative)Curbside Pick-UpTime: 9AM-4PMLocation: At the curbside in front of your home.Online registration required! (Registration begins August 1) October 7, 2017 (to coincide with the creek clean up)DROP-OFF ONLYTime: 9AM-3PMLocation: End of Butterfield Rd.No registration required THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO PARTICIPATED IN THE 2016 CHIPPER DAYS.  YOUR EFFORTS HELPED SLEEPY HOLLOW ACHIEVE NATIONAL FIREWISE COMMUNITY RECOGNITION!

For questions about the chipping service, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Wildfire Preparedness Week, Day 1: Clean Your Roof and Gutters!

Wildfire Preparedness Week, Day 1: Clean Your Roof and Gutters!
Wildfire Preparedness Week is May 1-7, 2017.  Follow our daily updates for an easy, step by step guide to protecting your home!

This week, FIRESafe MARIN will provide a simple, 7 day guide to improving your home and family's wildfire preparedness with simple, easy, inexpensive tips.

Day 1: Clean Your Roof and Rain Gutters!

The single most effective step you can take to protect your home TODAY is to clean all leaves, needles, and debris from your roof and rain gutters!  The most vulnerable part of your home is typically the roof.  Although Class "A" roof construction, required in most Marin jurisdictions for nearly 20 years, is more resistant to fire, even a small handful of leaves or needles can ignite your "fire resistant" roofing.  Fire inspectors find that most homeowners do not properly maintain their roofs, leaving Marin's neighborhoods vulnerable to wildfires.

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Wildfire Preparedness: A Community Responsibility

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Follow FIRESafe MARIN this Wildfire Preparedness Week, May 1-7, 2017Are you ready for Marin's wildfire season? Check Your email this week for daily Wildfire Preparedness tips and tricks!

Following one of California’s wettest winters, it may be difficult to believe that wildfire season in Marin is just a few weeks away.  As spring turns to summer and our green hills begin to brown, the threat of wildfire looms.  A record crop of grass is already helping spread wildfires to the south, and Marin is long overdue for a devastating fire...

Keep these conditions in mind as FIRESafe MARIN and your local fire department observe Wildfire Preparedness Week May 1 – 7.  We invite you to take advantage of the many programs and services available to Marinites to better protect your homes from wildfire by visiting FIRESafe MARIN's NEW website! 

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Wildfire Community Preparedness Week: May 1-7, 2017

Wildfire Community Preparedness Week: May 1-7, 2017
Join us May 1-7 as we celebrate national Wildfire Community Preparedness Week. At a time when wildfires are causing more damage to homes and businesses each year, Preparedness Week is a reminder that there are many things we can do to be prepared for wildfire. These events serves as means to inspire and encourage people of all ages to plan and participate in a risk reduction or wildfire preparedness activity that makes their community a safer place to live.

The 2017 National Wildfire Community Preparedness Week is May 1-7.  FIRESafe MARIN, Marin County Fire Department, Novato Fire Protection District, Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District, and other local agencies and neighborhoods are hosting events to help Marin residents better prepare for wildfires.

 Wildfire Community Preparedness Week: May 1-7, 2017

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Novato Wildfire Community Preparedness Day: Saturday, May 6, 2017

Novato Wildfire Community Preparedness Day: Saturday, May 6, 2017

Novato Fire Protection District along with National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) and both Firewise communities, Marin Valley Mobile Country Club and Pacheco Valle will sponsor a Firewise Day Program that will provide free information to help you live safely in a wildland urban interface. The program will be held at Marin Valley Mobile Country Club located at 500 Marin Valley Drive in the clubhouse. Various guest speakers and exhibits will empower you and your neighbors to get ready for wildfire season and beyond.

Novato Wildfire Community Preparedness Day: Saturday, May 6, 2017, 10:00-2:30

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Updated CWPP Adopted by Board of Supervisors

Collaborative document will increases risk awareness and prioritize future mitigation efforts.

San Rafael, CA – After two years of collaboration with community members, fire departments and land management agencies, FIRESafe MARIN and Marin County Fire Department have finalized the updated Marin County Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP), a comprehensive countywide framework for improving community protection from wildfires.

Approved by the Marin County Board of Supervisors at its March 7 meeting, the CWPP includes actions to reduce the ignitibility of homes and other structures within Marin’s wildland urban interface (WUI). An estimated 69,000 homes are built within Marin’s WUI, in which homes are at greater risk of wildfire because of surrounding vegetation and proximity to wildlands. The CWPP update was funded through a grant from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known as CAL FIRE.

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FIRESafe MARIN and PG&E Partner to Reduce Wildfire Threat in Marin

FIRESafe MARIN and PG&E Partner to Reduce Wildfire Threat in Marin
2016 PG&E Fuel Reduction Grants

PG&E Awarded FIRESafe MARIN seven grants in 2016, totalling $152,180, to reduce wildfire hazards in Marin.  Fuel reduction work was conducted summer 2016, with all projects completed by October 1.  

FIRESafe MARIN would like to thank our partner agencies and members who helped complete these projects quickly and efficiently, and PG&E for providing funding and making widfire hazard reduction a priority in Marin.

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Two Wildfires Burn in Novato, Homes Damaged

Two Wildfires Burn in Novato, Homes Damaged

A two-alarm vegetation fire Tuesday burned just over two acres acres in Novato, damaging a home and power lines.  The fire was allegedly caused by a 14-year-old boy who was playing with matches, a fire spokeswoman said.  Fire crews quickly knocked down a two-alarm fire in Novato one day earlier, Monday evening, according to the Marin County Fire Department, injuring a firefighter and forcing 15 homes to evacuate.

The second fire was reported just after 6 p.m. Tuesday off of Oliva Drive, according to Novato Fire District.

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Wildfires Threaten Communities to North and South of Marin

Wildfires Threaten Communities to North and South of Marin

Several fast-moving wildfires - two in Sonoma and the other in Santa Cruz county - have destroyed homes and are currently forcing mandatory evacuations.

In Petaluma Tuesday, September 27, a fast moving vegetation damaged or destroyed 14 homes alongside Highway 101. The fire started around 3:15 p.m. along the eastside of the freeway, south of East Washington Street, closing down northbound lanes of the freeway and forcing evacuations, according to fire officials. The fire may have started from a vehicle on the freeway, igniting dry brush on the shoulder, quickly spreading into a grove of eucalyptus trees and a nearby neighborhood.

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What is the Wildland Urban Interface?

What is the Wildland Urban Interface?

Citizens are moving farther into “natural” areas to take advantage of the privacy, natural beauty, recreational opportunities and affordable living. Developers are building neighborhoods to accommodate the influx. As a result, fire departments are fighting fires along the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), defined as areas where homes are built near or among lands prone to wildland fire. Depending on the area of the country, fire departments might refer to wildland fires as brush fires, forest fires, rangeland fires, or something else; however, they are all part of the WUI and all pose the same threat to local assets. The increase in the WUI threat has been steep because of continued development and exposure.

The WUI is not a place, per se, but a set of conditions that can exist in nearly every community. It can be a major subdivision or it can be four homes on an open range. According to the National Fire Protection Association, conditions include (but are not limited to): the amount, type, and distribution of vegetation; the flammability of the structures (homes, businesses, outbuildings, decks, fences) in the area, and their proximity to fire-prone vegetation and to other combustible structures; weather patterns and general climate conditions; topography; hydrology; average lot size; and road construction. The WUI exists in every state in the country.

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Ready. Set. Go. Wildfire...

In California, wildfires aren't a question of if, but only a question of when. If you choose to live near a natural area of the state, you are at risk for wildfires and it's your responsibility to prepare yourself, your family, and your home. And that preparation starts with three simple steps: READY, SET, GO!

Ready  Set  Go

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Marin Fuel Moistures Reach Critical Level

Marin Fuel Moistures Reach Critical Level

Marin's Live Fuel Moistures, an important measurement for firefighters that can predict extreme fire behavior during wildfires, reached critical levels September 19, 2016.  Measured at 57%, these critically low levels of vegetation moisture are the result of Marin's normal dry, mediterranean summer, exacerbated by the prolonged drought.

Live fuel moisture content describes the moisture content within living vegetation ("fuel").  Moisture content is among single most important factors determining the amount of fuel available to burn, and how much fuel might be consumed, during a wildfire.  Fuel moisture determines if certain vegetation will burn, how quickly and completely it might burn, and what phases of combustion the fuels will support.  Live fuel moisture is independent of dead fuels, which also contribute dramatically to wildfires.

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Wildfire Near Fairfax Burns Near Boy Scout Camp

Wildfire Near Fairfax Burns Near Boy Scout Camp

Firefighters from Marin County Fire Department, Ross Valley Fire Department, CAL FIRE, and other local agencies worked to quickly contain a vegetation fire in the area of Camp Tamarancho west of Fairfax Sunday, September 18th.  The 1.8 acre fire was reported at 4:50 PM, and burned in a remote area near White's Hill in Fairfax.  The fire was contained by ground firefighting resources including engine companies and hand crews, with the assistance of aircraft from CAL FIRE.  No structures were damaged.  

Marin's Wildfire Detection Camera system, funded through a 2014 grant from PG&E, was used to help firefighters locate and monitor the wildfire.

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This week in 1923: Marin and Bay Area Wildfires Burn Thousands of Acres and Homes

This week in 1923: Marin and Bay Area Wildfires Burn Thousands of Acres and Homes

The excellent "Marin Fire History" website has a detailed account of the devastating wildfires that burned huge swaths of Marin and the Bay Area the week of September 17, 1923.  The Marin fire, the largest in our recorded history, burned from Novato to Bolinas, destroying homes and threatening whole towns in its path.  The late season fire weather and low fuel moistures, similar to what we are experiencing today, contributed to a fire siege that gripped much of California, burning Berkeley, Marin, El Dorado, Sonoma, Petaluma, Ukiah, and Santa Barbara - in all 18 counties saw major fires.

"This week we start to tell the story of the massive and devastating fires throughout California during the week of September 17th. Over one thousand homes lost, including 30 out of the 35 in Woodacre, and over 600 in Berkeley. The main contributing factors were the north and northeasterly winds, very low humidity (5% at Noon in Berkeley on the 17th), and high temperatures. It was one of the largest fires in the history of Marin County, where a smoldering fire in Ignacio was kicked up by strong north winds, running over Big Rock Ridge into the Lucas and Nicasio Valleys, over Loma Alta into Woodacre, around Forest Knolls and Lagunitas, and over the Bolinas Ridge to Bolinas. 

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FIRESafe MARIN Annual Report 2015

FIRESafe MARIN Annual Report 2015

FIRESafe MARIN has published our 2015 Annual Report.  FIRESafe MARIN is a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing Wildland Fire hazards and improving fire-safety awareness in Marin County, California. We foster community involvement by building partnerships and providing resources for mitigating fire danger.

Following a tremendous rebound in 2014, our projects and community involvement continued to grow with new grants awarded, unsolicited donations, energetic new Board members, and growing public awareness while facing the California’s extreme drought.  The 2015 fiscal year was a successful fundraising year, building a strong foundation of support for our programs in the next fiscal year. 

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Mill Valley and Larkspur to Host 2 Hour "FIRE in Marin" Workshops

FIRE in Marin!

A FREE 2-hour class for Marin residents

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Sleepy Hollow Chipper Days: September 7 & 8

Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District, Ross Valley Fire Department, and FIRESafe MARIN will conduct door to door, curbside pick-up chipper days September 7 and 8, 2016.   Clean up your property to create defensible space and help prevent wildfires in Sleepy Hollow, then we'll dispose of the vegetation at no cost to you!  This service is available to Sleepy Hollow residents only.

Date(s): September 7 & 8, 2016Time: 9AM-5PMLocation: At the curbside in front of your home.

For questions about the chipping service, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Fairfax Chipper Days in August and September

The Town of Fairfax and FIRESafe MARIN will host community chipper days in August and September.  Fairfax residents may drop off vegetation material for free disposal to help reduce the threat of wildfire.

Scenic neighborhood

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Marin County Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) 2016

FIRESafe MARIN and Marin County Fire Department are pleased to announce the publication of the first public draft of the 2016 Marin County Community Wildfire Protection Plan.  This document represents more than a year of work by a diverse group of community stakeholders, fire officials, and wildfire science experts to produce an updated CWPP which broadly addresses wildfire risk and hazard in Marin County and provides a framework for future mitigation efforts.  A final draft will be adopted August 2016.

Download the DRAFT 2016 Community Wildfire Protection Plan5.71 MB

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Free Green Waste Days in Nicasio: June 11-12 ~ July 9-10

Free Green Waste Days in Nicasio: June 11-12 ~ July 9-10

Free Green Waste disposal days, across from the Nicasio corporation yard, 5575 Nicasio Valley Rd.

Saturday and Sunday, June 11-12 & July 9-10 2016

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Sleepy Hollow Chipper Day: June 5, 2016

Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District, Ross Valley Fire Department, and FIRESafe MARIN will have a chipper station located at the end of Butterfield (by the entrance to San Domenico) Sunday, June 5, 2016.   Clean up your property to create defensible space and help prevent wildfires in Sleepy Hollow, then bring the vegetation on that day and we will chip it for you!  This service is available to Sleepy Hollow residents only.

Date: June 5, 2016Time: 9AM-3PMLocation: At the end of Butterfield Road near the entrance to San Domenico School.

If you need assistance hauling your debris, please drop by the chipper station before 2pm (earlier if possible) and we will do our best to help coordinate pick-up and transportation - availability subject to demand.   For any questions about the chipping service, either on or before the 5th, please contact FIRESafe MARIN Coordinator Todd Lando at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Participate in a Marin Wildfire Preparedness Event this Saturday!


Saturday, May 7, 2016 is National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day!  Several Marin communities, in partnership with FIRESafe MARIN, are planning preparedness events.  

Commit a couple of hours, or the entire day, and watch as your actions positively contribute to reducing your community’s wildfire risk. Challenge your friends, your family, relatives, faith-based group or youth organization to develop a project and join others throughout the nation in making big changes. Your efforts will help raise wildfire awareness, promote collaboration and bring neighbors together to work on projects that can help protect homes, neighborhoods and entire communities from future wildfire risk or current post-fire impacts.

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FREE Firewise Workshops Added! May 14 & June 11

FIRESafe MARIN, with partners Mill Valley Fire Department and Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District, will offer FREE Firewise workshops May 14 and June 11, 2016 to all Marin residents.  

The full day courses, "Assessing Residential Wildfire Hazards," provide an understanding of Firewise concepts and techniques for homeowners, residents, real estate professionals, landscape architects, emergency professionals, urban and state foresters, developers, community planners, insurance professionals and others who will benefit from understanding how to prevent losses from wildfire.

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FREE Firewise Workshop: Saturday, June 11

FREE Firewise Workshop: Saturday, June 11

A free, one-day seminar providing an overview of how homes ignite from wildfire, Firewise® principles, and actions residents can take to protect their home.  This is a great introductory course for concerned homeowners, agencies, community leaders, professionals, and anyone interested in learning about wildfires and the actions they can take to reduce wildfire losses.  

This is a full day course, geared toward concerned homeowners living in areas prone to wildfires.  Taught by a recognized national authority on wildfire preparedness, and attended by homeowners, firefighters, elected officials, and anyone interested in taking the next step towards making their community "Firewise."

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Marin Awarded Two CAL FIRE Wildfire Prevention Grants

San Rafael – Marin County residents will benefit from two wildfire prevention grants awarded Monday.  As part of the State's SRA Fire Prevention Fund Grant Program, these grants will be used to reduce fuels and improve defensible space, evacuation routes, and preparedness in Marin's State Responsibility Areas (SRA).  The first grant will fund $98,533 to reduce fuels along roadway evacuation routes and fund neighborhood chipper days in SRA communities in Marin.  The second grant of $63,588 will fund a variety of fuel reduction and wildfire prepredness projects in the Rancho Santa Margarita community near Nicasio.  FIRESafe MARIN will manage the grants in cooperation with Marin County Fire Department, Nicasio Volunteer Fire Department, and other local fire and land management agencies.

2014 and 2015 were FIRESafe MARIN's most successful years ever, with more than $816,472 in grants awarded.  2016 has seen several new grant funded wildfire prevention projects in Marin, bringing the three year funding total to $1,078,593.  Our fuel reduction efforts in 2014 and 2015 spanned the entire County, from West Marin to Sausalito, involving thousands of volunteer hours and dozens of state, federal, and local public land management agencies, private homeowner's associations, businesses, PG&E, and every Marin fire agency.  A partial list of projects funded in 2014, 2015, and 2016 is available online at www.firesafemarin.org/projects.

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Wildfire History: 1917-1941 Marin Wildfire Maps

Wildfire History: 1917-1941 Marin Wildfire Maps

An important piece of Marin history, and valuable data for Marin's fire and land managers, was recently rediscovered.  Several hand drawn maps showing wildfires, dates, and acreages between 1917 and 1941 were compiled by Edwin B. Gardner, Chief Warden of the Tamalpais Forest Fire District and the first Fire Chief of Marin County Fire Department.  The Fire Lookout tower atop Mt. Tamalpais was later dedicated and named for Chief Gardner.

Most of the maps have extremely detailed legends, noting dates and acreages, with color coding to denote the size of smaller fires.

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Twenty Years Ago, Today: Marin's "Vision Fire"

Twenty Years Ago, Today: Marin's "Vision Fire"
1995 Fire Destroys 45 Homes and Burns 12,000 Acres in West Marin

20 years ago today, Marin's most destructive wildfire in recent memory began on the slopes of Mt Vision near Inverness.  Less than four years after the devastating "Tunnel Fire" in the Oakland/Berkeley hills, Marin firefighters and residents saw their own homes and parks blackened by fire in the Wildland/Urban Interface (WUI).  Between October 3-16, 1995, the Vision Fire burned 12,354 acres near Mount Vision in the Point Reyes National Seashore, scorching the scenic and sparsely populated land between Tomales Bay and the Drakes Bay along the Pacific Ocean. Winds of up to 45 mph turned the smoldering remains of an illegal campfire on Mount Vision into a firestorm that consumed private property, State Parks, and federal land.   Within hours, 45 homes were destoryed in Inverness Park, and the fire forced the evacuation of 422 residents in the hills above Inverness, Olema and Point Reyes Station. There were no fatalities or major injuries.

The Vision Fire added further emphasis to FIRESafe MARIN, formed only three years earlier in the aftermath of the Tunnel Fire in the Oakland/Berkeley hills.  With new evidence in hand that the concept of Defensible Space had actually saved homes in Inverness, and invigorated Marin communities now truly understanding that such an event could happen in their own backyard, FIRESafe MARIN and local fire departments and land agencies began a 20 year program of fuel reduction, education, and community collaboration.

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

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