Marin County Fire Department founded the Tamalpais Fire Crew in 2004, choosing the name as a tribute to the historical "Tamalpais Forest Fire Association" which later became "Tamalpais Forest Fire District" and then Marin County Fire Department in 1941. The initial 8-day pilot fuel clearing project was funded by FIRESafe MARIN and MCFD.
On May 20, 2005, the Marin County Board of Supervisor approved funding for a thirteen person fire crew and updated their name to the Tamalpais Fire Crew. The program is more than just a vegetation management tool, it is used to build firefighting skills, work ethic, and leadership competency among the firefighters that will become the future of MCFD and other fire agencies throughout the state.
Today, the staffing of the crew is 14 firefighters composed of a Fire Crew Superintendent, a Fire Crew Foreman, and 12 Seasonal Firefighters. They work a 9-month season beginning in June and work until March. Each day, they cut brush and fall dead trees to improve access, provide defensible space, or improve forest health in locations throughout the county. From June to November, the crew cuts and piles vegetation to create safer areas for fire suppression. Once the winter rains begin, they burn the piles in accordance to rules established by the Bay Area Air Quality District.
The Tamalpais Fire Crew also responds to wildland fires across California to build containment lines, fall hazardous trees, and mop-up fires.