FIRESafe MARIN News

Wildfire Safety Blog and News from FIRESafe MARIN.

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?

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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

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

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