FIRESafe MARIN News

Wildfire Safety Blog and News from FIRESafe MARIN.

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

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