FIRESafe MARIN News

Wildfire Safety Blog and News from FIRESafe MARIN.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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 Schedule

May 5 & 6, 2017
DROP-OFF ONLY
Time(s): 10AM-2PM (May 5) 9AM-3PM (May 6)
Location: End of Butterfield Rd.
No registration required
 
July 1-2, 2017
Curbside Pick-Up
Time: 9AM-4PM
Location: At the curbside in front of your home.
Online registration required! (Registration begins June 1)
 
August 26-27, 2017 (tentative)
Curbside Pick-Up
Time: 9AM-4PM
Location: 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 ONLY
Time: 9AM-3PM
Location: 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, 2017

Are 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, 2016
Time: 9AM-5PM
Location: 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.

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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, 2016
Time: 9AM-3PM
Location: 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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Tamalpais Fire Crew Shares Wisdom for Protecting Homes From Wildfire

Tamalpais Fire Crew Shares Wisdom for Protecting Homes From Wildfire

"The main reason we were successful defending the homes we did was due to the defensible space provided by the homeowners,” he said. “We were not successful at saving some homes in the neighborhood as we were spread too thin.”

The Marin Independent Journal published an excellent interview Saturday with Tim Walsh, Crew Superintendant for Marin's Tamalpais Fire Crew, upon their return from the devastating Valley Fire in Lake County.   FIRESafe MARIN extends condolences to the families of those who died and to the thousands of families whoe lost their homes and belongings, however we are not stunned that a fire like this occurred.  More damaging wildfires are likely as we reach October, historically the most critical month of fire season in Northern California - without taking into account this year's record setting drought.

Upon returning from the Valley Fire, Walsh and the Tamalpais Fire Crew immediately returned to work for FIRESafe MARIN where our partnership helps reduce vegetation fuels in Marin's wildlands.  Currently nearing completion on a eucalyptus removal and fuel break project on Ridgewood Fire Road above the Terra Linda/Sleepy Hollow Divide Open Space Preserve, the Tamalpais Fire Crew is one of Marin's best resources for not only fighting wildfires, but preventing them and reducing the intensity of ones that might occur in the future.

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NFPA Provides Teen Resources to Prepare Family, Pets, and Horses for Wildfires

In households with pets and horses, we treat them as members of our family, and like their owners they require proactive planning and actions to ensure they can be safely evacuated when wildfires occur.

As of today, getting pets and horses ready for a wildfire just got a whole lot easier! NFPA has developed a fun video and preparedness checklists developed specifically for middle and high school students to get them started making the animals in their lives ready for a wildfire. The video was created for teens to share with friends on social media and encourage them to get involved too!

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Top 10 Ways to Protect Your Property from Wildfire

Top 10 Ways to Protect Your Property from Wildfire

IBHS, the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety published this excellent list of the "Top 10 Ways to Protect Your Property from ;Wildfire." At FIRESafe MARIN, we agree - take action on these ten items and your home, and community, stand a chance. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association found that homes with a fire-resistant roof (#4) and 30 feet of defensible space (#10) have an 80 percent chance of surviving a wildfire.

(In no particular order) 

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You Are Invited to Attend a Public Meeting

You Are Invited to Attend a Public Meeting

Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) Update

Marin County Fire Department & FIRESafe MARIN are actively working to complete an update to the 2005 Marin County Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP).

We invite all interested parties to attend one of four CWPP public meetings:

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Last Week's Wildfires Rank 3rd and 7th Most Destructive in California History.

Last Week's Wildfires Rank 3rd and 7th Most Destructive in California History.

CAL FIRE has released damage assessments for last week's wildfires in California, revealing a total of 2,684 structures burned on the two fires, including 1,783 on the Valley Fire south of Clearlake, and 901 on the Butte Fire south of Jackson. Five residents died in these fires.

For the purposes of this report, “structures” includes residences, outbuildings, and commercial properties.

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One in Three California Homes at Risk of Wildfire

One in Three California Homes at Risk of Wildfire

From USA Today:

A third of homes in California are located in areas prone to wildfires, according to data from the U.S. Forest Service, a startling statistic that helps explain the fires that destroyed hundreds of homes in the state over the weekend.

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Engaging children of all ages in wildfire safety efforts


This year’s fire season has drastically affected many Americans across the nation. It has been so sad to hear about the tragic loss of lives, and property.  Children especially can feel vulnerable and scared when they hear about these events and have not had any education about what they can do to be prepared and help their family prepare before a wildfire.

NFPA has launched a new campaign called TakeAction in collaboration with State Farm Insurance that highlights activities and a contest for youth from the 6th through 12thgrades.   Take a look at the videos and opportunities for this age group to learn about what they can do and perhaps win a scholarship for project work completed. Information and resources for younger children are also available on the NFPA website

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Lake County Wildfire Burns Whole Communities Overnight Saturday

Lake County Wildfire Burns Whole Communities Overnight Saturday

FIRESafe MARIN is keeping our neighbors in Lake County in our thoughts, as dozens of Marin County Firefighters assist battling an "explosive" wildfire that started yesterday, growing to 40,000 acres in the first 16 hours (now 70,000 acres and still growing 4 days later).  Less than 40 miles from Marin, the communities of Cobb and Middletown, east of Calistoga and north of Napa suffered severe damage, with early reports from Marin firefighters on the scene indicating that nearly every home and business in the downtown areas may have been damaged or destroyed.  Mandatory evacuations are currently underway as the fire continues to spread rapidly towards other communities, including Hidden Valley, Lower Lake, Kelseyville, and others.  Another  fire experiencing explosive growth is burning in the sierra foothills near San Andreas, stretching statewide firefighting resources thin.  Fire infomation is available here...

As we review news footage and first hand reports, it reminds us of the critical importance "wildfire embers" play in spreading fires through the wildland/urban interface.  Many of the images we've seen showing homes and businesses burning show that the structures likely had adequate "defensible space," but may not have been well protected from wind blown embers.  

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Marin Firefighters Quickly Extinguish Five Wildfires Friday

Marin Firefighters Quickly Extinguish Five Wildfires Friday

Friday September 11, Marin firefighters responded to five wildfires.  A morning wildfire in Point Reyes National Seashore was followed by three nearly simultaneous grass fires in Marinwood, Novato, and Hamilton.  A fifth fire was reported 45 minutes later in Chileno-Valley near the Sonoma Marin border.  The Marinwood, Alameda Del Prado, and Hamilton fires are considered suspicious and are under investigation.   Dozens of homes were threatened during a week where wildfires burned in several Marin communities, including Greenbrae and San Rafael Thursday.

FIRESafe MARIN reminds Marin residents to take action now to protect your home and family - it's not too late, as the worst months of fire-season still lay ahead.  Take a look at our 7 part series on protecting your home for a one week plan to prepare your home and family for wildfire.  Then use the helpful resources on our website to learn more about wildfire safety!

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FIRESafe MARIN Partners Work on Marin Wildfire Prevention Projects

FIRESafe MARIN Partners Work on Marin Wildfire Prevention Projects

FIRESafe MARIN, Working with PG&E, Marin County Fire Department, the Tamalpais Fire Crew, Marin County Parks and Open Space, Towns of San Anselmo, Mill Valley, Novato, Kentfield Fire Protection District, and local homeowner groups is nearing completion of several important wildfire fuel reduction projects in Marin.  Funded by PG&E, these projects will help reduce wildfire fuels and vegetation stressed by Marin's ongoing drought.

Marin County Fire Department's Tamalpais Fire Crew is seen here as they work on a eucalyptus thinning project near Ridgewood Fire Road on the Terra Linda/Sleepy Hollow Divide Open Space Preserve. Moments later, the Fire Crew was dispatched to help fight a wildfire near Marin General Hospital in Greenbrae.

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Marin Wildfires Highlight Extreme Fire Danger

Two wildfires Friday and Saturday August 14 and 15 highlight Marin's wildfire danger, as dozens of large fires burn across California and the western US.  Friday afternoon, a two acre vegetation fire burned in San Rafael near the Northgate Mall, threatening structures as firefighters arrived.  Arson is suspected in the San Rafael fire.  Earlier today, a vegetation fire ignited near the Bon Tempe water treatment plant above Phoenix Lake in Ross.  Firefighters contained the fire at just 1/8 acre despite the hot, dry conditions.

Fire Managers in the Marin County Fire Department Emergency Command Center in Woodacre were able to locate and monitor the Phoenix Lake fire using Marin's Wildfire Detection Camera System.

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Marin Smoke Information

Marin Smoke Information

FIRESafe MARIN is fielding numerous questions from concerned citizens regarding smoke in Marin and the Bay Area.   The US National Weather Service San Francisco Bay Area/Monterey California reports that smoke from Trinity area fires and other Northern California fires has drifted slightly east and south overnight and in the early morning hours and continues to do so. Reports have been coming in across the Bay Area and winds look to be somewhat consistent today, so it is hard to tell when the smoke may dissipate or get blown out of the area. The cool down and return of onshore breezes on Monday may be the ticket, but changes in wind pattern tomorrow may also help. Hard to tell at this point, but we hope you all are dealing with the haze and smoke in a safe manner. Any suffering from asthma may want to get inside, but smoke levels aren't expected to become very heavy.

Current Fire Information

Many people have asked for information on the status of current wildfires.  A good resource for finding current fire information is CAL Fire (http://cdfdata.fire.ca.gov/incidents/incidents_current) for fires on state lands,  or Inciweb (http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/state/5/#) for fires on federal lands.  These websites will not typically provide details on small wildfires in Marin, and our local fire agencies often do not have the resources to update their websites during fires.  Local evacuation and incident information is provided by the Marin County Office of Emergency Services and Sheriff's office.  Local fires that do not trigger evacuations will typically be noted on the FIRESafe MARIN or local fire department's website the following day.

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KRON 4 Profiles Marin Wildfire Detection Cameras; Cameras Monitor Marin Fires

KRON 4 Profiles Marin Wildfire Detection Cameras; Cameras Monitor Marin Fires

Marin's new wildfire detection camera system was profiled Friday by the Bay Area's KRON4 News.  August 14 and 15, the high-tech system was used by Marin's fire service to monitor and locate wildfires in San Rafael and Ross.  Each wildfire was contained quickly, despite hot, dry conditions.

MARIN COUNTY (KRON) — Marin County Firefighters have a new tool to spot and fight wildfires.

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Marin Magazine Highlights Wildfire Detection System

Marin Magazine Highlights Wildfire Detection System

FIRESafe MARIN and Marin County Fire Department's remote fire detection camera system was featured in the July issue of Marin Magazine!

The July issue has been delivered, and their digital edition is available online. Click here to read the Marin Magazine digital edition article...

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Marin IJ and FIRESafe MARIN: Play it Safe during fire season!

Marin IJ and FIRESafe MARIN: Play it Safe during fire season!

Check out today's Home and Garden/Fine Living Section for tips on fire safe living in Marin this fire season!  There’s a risk of wildfire every summer, but due to the prolonged drought, 2015 has the potential to be Marin's worst fire season in 20 years.

Read more in the Marin IJ...  http://www.marinij.com/lifestyle/20150703/pj-bremiers-fine-living-play-it-safe-during-fire-season

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Happy 4th of July! REMEMBER - ALL FIREWORKS ARE ILLEGAL IN MARIN!

Happy 4th of July!  REMEMBER - ALL FIREWORKS ARE ILLEGAL IN MARIN!

FIRESafe MARIN wishes all Marin residents a safe and happy 4th of July.  We hope you enjoy one of the many specatcular firework displays in the Bay Area, and remind all residents and vistors that ALL FIREWORKS ARE ILLEGAL IN MARIN COUNTY!

It is ILLEGAL to possess or discharge fireworks of ANY KIND in Marin County. The law is strictly enforced.  Any person who accidentally starts a wildfire with fireworks may be imprisoned and held liable for the full cost of fighting the fire and any resulting damage.

Marin County Police and Fire personnel are on the watch for illegal fireworks. Persons involved with the sale or use of fireworks are subject to prosecution. Each year citizens are killed and thousands sustain moderate to life changing injuries as reported by emergency rooms across the nation. Hands, eyes, heads, faces and ears are body parts frequently injured by contusion, laceration and foreign bodies in the eyes being very common. Non-fatal injuries range from scarring burns to blindness. Injuries are not the only reason fireworks are illegal. We are in the beginning of severe fire weather with a large vegetation fuel load surrounding us.  Marin has already experienced fireworks related fires this year. It does not matter if they are the "safe & sane" fireworks that may be legal in other parts of the state: ALL FIREWORKS ARE ILLEGAL IN MARIN COUNTY.

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Sleepy Hollow Hosts Free Chipper Days in June

To help dispose of the large amounts of cut materials, Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District will hold four scheduled chipper days in June 2015 (June 13, 14, 20, 21).  Crews will visit your address to dispose of larger materials that won't fit in your green waste cans (1"-6" diameter limbs, brush, branches, etc).

This free green-waste disposal is available to residents of Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District only. If you live outside of the district, please inquire at www.firesafemarin.org for upcoming chipper days at your address.

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Fairfax Chipper Days: June - September

Fairfax Chipper Days: June - September

Town of Fairfax will host neighborhood Chipper Days each month from June to September, 2015.  This is a community drop off at a central location (see schedule, below).  Sponsored by the Town of FairfaxFairfax VolunteersRoss Valley Fire Department, and FIRESafe MARIN.

Cascade Neighborhood

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Muir Woods Park - Free Green Waste Days: July 11-12, 2015

Muir Woods Park - Free Green Waste Days: July 11-12, 2015

Saturday and Sunday

July 11-12, 2015

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West Marin & Nicasio - Free Green Waste Days: June 20-21, July 11-12, 2015

West Marin & Nicasio - Free Green Waste Days: June 20-21, July 11-12, 2015

Saturday and Sunday

June 20-21 and July 11-12, 2015

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Mill Valley Fire Department Hosts Successful NFPA Wildfire Hazard Assessment Class

Mill Valley Fire Department Hosts Successful NFPA Wildfire Hazard Assessment Class

Mill Valley Fire Department and FIRESafe MARIN hosted an excellent class May 15, 2015, "Assessing Wildfire Hazards in the Home Ignition Zone," at the Mill Valley Community Center. NFPA Instructor Gary Marshall, the former deputy fire chief of Bend, Oregon, and an outspoken advocate of Firewise in the fire service community, presented an outstanding program designed to teach homeowners to take action to protect their homes. Exemplifying our mission, community members and fire service professionals worked together in the same room to learn the most up to date strategies for preparing communities for wildfire.

The NFPA Assessing Residential Wildfire Hazards course is a less technical course that provides a thorough overview of how homes ignite from wildfire, and an introduction to the home ignition zone concept and Firewise principles, and actions residents can take to harden homes from wildfire ignitions. This one-day training is a great introductory course for organization and agency staff who are not able to participate in the two-day course in addition to community stakeholders, residents and anyone interested in learning about wildfire hazards and the actions they can implement to reduce potential wildfire losses.

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

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

Wildfire Preparedness Week is May 3-9, 2015.  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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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 3-9, 2015.  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 and 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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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 3-9, 2015.  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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Wildfire Preparedness Week, Day 4: Choose Firewise Plants

Wildfire Preparedness Week, Day 4: Choose Firewise Plants

Wildfire Preparedness Week is May 3-9, 2015.  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 mediterrannean climate.  Remember that all of California's native plants are adapted to fire - some are resistant to fire and when well maintained require little water and slow the spread of fire.  However, many California natives are among the most flammable plants on earth.  Don't assume that because it's a "native" it will help protect your home from fire!

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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 3-9, 2015.  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!

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Wildfire Preparedness Week, Day 2: Cut Your Grass!

Wildfire Preparedness Week, Day 2: Cut Your Grass!

Wildfire Preparedness Week is May 3-9, 2015.  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 prolonged drought brings an early fire season.  Grasslands that are normally green in early May began "curing," or drying out, much earlier than normal.  It's these grasses that make up the fuel for Marin's most frequent and fast moving wildfires.  Dry grass is particularly susceptible to ignition -  carelessly dropped cigarettes, illegal fireworks, mower blades, and hot car mufflers are frequent ignition sources.  These fast moving grass fires damage and destroy homes every year in California, and Marin, often damaging or destroying homes in the first few minutes, before firefighters can take action.

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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 3-9, 2015.  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

Wildfire Preparedness: A Community Responsibility

Follow FIRESafe MARIN this Wildfire Preparedness Week, May 3-9, 2015

Are you ready for Marin's wildfire season?  Check Your email this week for daily Wildfire Preparedness tips and tricks!

In the face of one of California’s worst droughts in recorded history, water shortages dominate the headlines. However, with the warmer months coming and our green hills beginning to turn to gold, the threat of wildfire looms. Fire officials are bracing for the state’s worst ever wildfire season as the lack of rain has accelerated the onset of the season. Here in Marin, and throughout the state, fire officials are going to peak staffing levels at least a month earlier than normal in response to the dry conditions. 

With these conditions in mind, observing Wildfire Preparedness Day this Saturday May 2, and Wildfire Awareness Week May 3 – 9, is even more important than usual. We invite you to take advantage of the many programs and services available to Marinites to better protect your homes from wildfire by visiting the FIRESafe MARIN website

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NATIONAL WILDFIRE COMMUNITY PREPAREDNESS DAY 2015

President Obama sends greetings to Wildfire Community Preparedness Day participants in a Presidential Message posted today. Read the President’s full message of encouragement and the role we each play in preparing for wildfires.

Commit a couple of hours, or the entire day, and join others throughout the nation making communities a safer place to live on Saturday, May 2, then follow up for the full wildfire Preparedness week May 3-9.  Challenge friends, family members, a faith-based group or youth organization to create a project. and accomplish something great together!

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County of Marin Suspends Outdoor Residential Burning Due to Fire Danger

Woodacre, CA – As drought conditions continue to increase fire danger in the region, the Marin County Fire Department has suspended all burn permits and Bay Area Air Quality Management District fire authorizations for outdoor open residential burning within the State Responsibility Area of Marin County. The suspension takes effect May 1 and bans all residential outdoor burning of landscape debris including branches and leaves. The last day of permitted burns is April 30. 

“We are entering the fourth consecutive year of drought in California,” said Marin County Fire Chief Jason Weber. “Our vegetation is beginning to show signs of the stress placed on it, compounding the risk posed from wildfire. With funding from CAL FIRE, we will begin staffing for this fire season nearly 1. months early.” 

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Third Mill Valley Neighborhood Achieves "FIREWISE" Recognition

Mill Valley Fire Department has partnered with a third homeowners\' association to help reduce the threat of wildfire through "Firewise Community" recognition.  The Scott Highlands neighborhood received confirmation of their application for Firewise Community status April 15, after a lengthy community preparedness campaign and application process.

Previously, the Shelter Ridge Homeowners Association and the Blithedale Highlands Neighborhood were certified as Firewise Communities after completing a five-step program and other requirements. Battalion Chief Scott Barnes hopes other Mill Valley neighborhoods will do the same.

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Request for Proposals: Marin County Community Wildfire Protection Plan

Request for Proposals for:

Marin County Community Wildfire Protection Plan 

Issue Date: April 10, 2015

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Mill Valley FD Offers "Assessing Residential Wildfire Hazards" Class May 15

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!  When buildings and landscapes are designed and maintained properly, they have a better chance of withstanding a wildfire by themselves without assistance from firefighters. In fact, managing landscapes around homes and communities can actually improve plant health, keep them compatible with natural ecosystems and allow them to survive dangerous wildfires.

Learning and applying Firewise® principles empowers residents and communities, in all regions of the United States, to improve local and wildland landscapes, provide a safe environment for first responders and protect our homes and communities from severe wildfires.

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FIRESafe MARIN and MCFD Awarded $123,200 Grant to Update Wildfire Plan

FIRESafe MARIN, in cooperation with Marin County Fire Department secured $123,200 to rewrite and update Marin’s Community Wildfire Protection Plan to reduce elevated fire threats during the fourth consecutive year of drought conditions.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s (CAL FIRE) new statewide Fire Prevention Fund program was created in the 2014-15 state budget to provide more than $9.5 million in grants to local agencies to aid them in their wildfire prevention efforts during the drought.

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View Marin's WIldfire Detection Cameras Online

During California’s record drought of 2014, FIRESafe MARIN, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), and Marin County Fire Department collaborated on the installation of a high-tech, remote wildfire detection system on four critical peaks in Marin county.  FIRESafe MARIN donated the $207,000 system, funded through a partnership with PG&E, installing the special cameras, support software, servers, and panoramic monitoring displays in the Emergency Command Center in Woodacre, where dispatchers will have access to the system 24-hours a day during fire season.  The effort is part of an ongoing partnership between PG&E and private, public and community organizations to prevent additional fires from sparking during the California wildfire season, which typically reaches its peak in late fall.

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Extended Drought Will Likely Adversely Impact Marin's 2015 Fire Season

Extended Drought Will Likely Adversely Impact Marin's 2015 Fire Season

The weekly Drought Monitor was issued this morning and it contains no change to the conditions in our area. We remain between D2 (Severe Drought) and D4 (Exceptional Drought) with the worst conditions experienced south of SF Bay and inland. Please see attached images. 

The heavy rains of December had kept our rainy season (July 1- today) totals close to normal for a while, but the dry weather of 2015 has pushed our seasonal numbers back to below normal for most locations (exception Monterey airport and Moffett Field). Note that for our calendar year rain of 2015 so far, we have experienced only 15-38% of normal at local observation sites.

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National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day: May 2, 2015

FIRESafe MARIN is proud to announce the National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day 2015.  Watch here and subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date on planned events and learn ways to help your neighborhood participate.

Commit a couple of hours, or the entire day and join others throughout the nation making communities a safer place to live on Saturday, May 2, 2015.  Challenge friends, family members, a faith-based group or youth organization to create a project and accomplish something great together!  

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Mill Valley Neighborhoods Achieve "FIREWISE" Accreditation

The Shelter Ridge Homeowners Association has garnered accreditation through the National Fire Protection Association’s “Firewise Communities” Program, becoming the second local community to complete the five-step path to reducing its collective fire risk. 

The 184-home Shelter Ridge HOA’s Firewise recognition comes five months after the 11-home Blithedale Highlands (Kite Hill) neighborhood association did the same. The Mill Valley Fire Department is looking to build on that momentum to get more communities on board with Firewise, helping homeowners both reduce their insurance premiums and lessen the risk of being dropped by their carriers. 

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WUI Fire Statistics Highlighted in "Brush, Grass and Forest Fires" Report by NFPA (infographic)

WUI Fire Statistics Highlighted in "Brush, Grass and Forest Fires" Report by NFPA (infographic)

Fires in the wildland/urban interface (WUI) are mainstream news these days. According to the NFPA, nine of the 25 costliest (in terms of property loss) fires in U.S. history were described as forest, wildland or WUI fires, and the eight costliest fires all occurred in the last two decades.

These numbers are included in the 2013 NFPA report Brush, Grass and Forest Fires, which provides many great statistics about the types, the sizes, the causes and circumstances of wildfires, firefighter fatalities and more, from 2007-2011. If you haven't taken a peak at the report, check it out today. Not interested in reading the full document? NFPA just completed a great infographic highlighting some of the major statistics of the report. Find it below and on the wildfire reports page of the NFPA website.

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PG&E, FIRESafe MARIN, and County of Marin Collaborate to Install Fire Detection Camera System in Marin

Remote Sensing Cameras, Software, to Aid in Early Wildfire Detection

Woodacre, CA. — As California’s record drought conditions exacerbate wildfire danger statewide, FIRESafe MARIN, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), and Marin County Fire Department announce the installation of a high-tech, remote wildfire detection system on four critical peaks in Marin county.  PG&E funded $207,000 to FIRESafe MARIN to install the special cameras, as well as support software, servers, and panoramic monitoring displays in the Emergency Command Center in Woodacre, where dispatchers will have access to the system 24-hours a day during fire season.  The effort is part of an ongoing partnership between PG&E and private, public and community organizations to prevent additional fires from sparking during the California wildfire season, which typically reaches its peak in late fall.

“PG&E and FIRESafe MARIN worked hard to secure this critical funding,” said Todd Lando, Coordinator for FIRESafe MARIN.  “Our partnership with PG&E and Marin County Fire Department provided the opportunity to improve the County’s wildfire detection and monitoring capabilities, supplementing the daytime-only volunteer fire lookouts with 24-hour coverage, and views from additional peaks in northern and West Marin.”  FIRESafe MARIN will donate the system to the County of Marin.

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San Geronimo Wildfire Burns 4 Acres in Roy's Redwoods

San Geronimo Wildfire Burns 4 Acres in Roy's Redwoods

San Geronimo, CA – One of Marin County’s largest redwood groves was charred by a wildfire Tuesday near San Geronimo, but Marin County Fire Department crews were aided by cool and foggy weather.

By 4:45 p.m., the fire in Roy’s Redwoods Open Space Preserve just east of Nicasio Valley Road was estimated at four acres and was 90 percent contained. At the height of the fire, temperatures in the area were in the mid-50s with wind gusts up to 19 mph. 

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Nicasio Chipper Days: October 21-22

FIRESafe MARIN will sponsor Chipper Days in Nicasio October 21-22, in cooperation with Nicasio Volunteer Fire Department to help residents improve Defensible Space and reduce fire hazards in Marin.  Funding for this program is provided by FIRESafe MARIN, Nicasio Volunteer Fire Department, PG&E, and a cooperative grant from the US Forest Service.


Dear Nicasio Neighbors,

To help reduce the risk posed by wildfire, Nicasio Volunteer Fire Department is
pleased to announce that we've been awarded a "chipper grant" from Fire Safe Marin. With a match from NVFD, this grant will pay for a mobile crew to chip and, if needed, haul away fuels that residents cut to create or maintain defensible space around their homes.

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Wildfires Raging Across Northern California - ARE YOU PREPARED?

Marin County firefighters are fighting fires across northern California today, following a week of intense fire activity.  A fast moving wildfire in Weed, near Mt Shasta, burned more than 200 homes in a few hours, devastating nearly half of the town.  The King Fire near Tahoe tripled in size yesterday, and has forced more than 2000 evacuations.  Marin firefighters are currently assisting on both of these devastating fires.

FIRESafe MARIN reminds all Marin residents that the danger is particularly severe right in your backyard!  Take time today to complete simple steps to prepare your home, even if you've already created your required "Defensible Space."  

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Kent Woodlands Wildfire Highlights Fire Danger

A vegetation fire of one acre was contained by firefighters Wednesday, September 10, 2014, on Hillside Avenue in the Kent Woodland’s neighborhood.  No homes were damanged, and no injuries were reported.  Although temperatures were warm, easy access, low winds, and relatively high humidity allowed firefighters to control the fire quickly.  Firefighters know that due to the extreme drought conditions, Marin's vegetation is at critically low fuel moisture levels - a fire like this on a day with even moderate winds could spell disaster for all of the communities built around the base of Mt Tamalpais.

FIRESafe MARIN and our partner agencies are working on vegetation management projects in the area in our ongoing effort to improve the survivability of Marin's hillside neighborhoods in the event of a wildfire.  Our efforts depend on the cooperation of all homeowners throught the creation of Defensible Space (it's the law!) and community level preparedness.

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September is National Disaster Preparedness Month

2014 NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS MONTH (NPM)

"Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare"

During National Preparedness Month we ask you, your family, community and workplace to take action by planning a National PrepareAthon! Day on or around September 30th. We recommend using digital media tools as a way to promote National Preparedness Month, September 1-30th.

What you can do to promote National Preparedness Month:

www.ready.gov/september

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FIRESafe MARIN Working on Record Number of Wildfire Safety Projects in Marin

2014 has been one of FIRESafe MARIN's most successful years in history, with more than $486,000 in grants awarded.  Our fuel reduction efforts in 2014 have 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.  This is a partial list of projects funded in 2014.

King Mountain Fire Fuel Reduction                               

  • Responsible agency: FIRESafe MARIN
  • Funding Agency: PG&E
  • Grant: $60,000

Fire Lookouts: Remote Fire Sensing Cameras

  • Responsible agency: FIRESafe MARIN
  • Funding Agency: PG&E
  • Grant: $207,000

Mt. Tamalpais Wildland Urban Interface Fuel Break Project

  • Responsible agency: FIRESafe MARIN       
  • Funding Agency: PG&E
  • Grant: $80,000

Woodland Avenue Invasive Vegetation Removal

  • Responsible agency: FIRESafe MARIN
  • Funding Agency: PG&E
  • Grant: $20,000     

FIRESafe MARIN Chipper Day Program          

  • Responsible agency: FIRESafe MARIN
  • Funding Agency: PG&E
  • Grant: $30,000

Community Based Defensible Space Program (Chipper)

  • Responsible agency: FIRESafe MARIN
  • Funding Agency: USDA Forest Service/State Fire Assistance, California Fire Safe Council
  • Grant: $133,772
  • Chipper projects to date (2014):
    • Country Club San Rafael
    • West End Neighborhood Association
    • Nicasio Volunteer Fire Department
    • Sleepy Hollow
    • Fairhills Property Owner's Association
    • Indian Valley Association
    • Tamalpais Community Services District
    • Homestead Valley - Pixie Trail
    • Homestead Valley - Madrone Park Circle

Puerto Suello Hill Fuel Reduction                               

  • Responsible agency: FIRESafe MARIN
  • Funding Agency: PG&E
  • Grant: $60,000
  • Grant number: NOR-00131
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Sleepy Hollow Chipper Day: August 24, 2014

Sunday, August 24, 2014, Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District and FIRESafe MARIN will sponsor a “Chipper Day” for all residents of Sleepy Hollow.  To participate, you must sign up through our SHFPD's new website at www.shfpd.org/chipper-request.  Chipper crews will visit your property and dispose of cut vegetation at no cost.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR FREE CHIPPING!

1. Create Defensible Space (it's the law!)

Please review the  booklet, “Living With Fire in Sleepy Hollow.”  All Sleepy Hollow residents should have received a printed copy by mail in early August, 2014, and a PDF version is available for download here...  This new booklet contains valuable information regarding wildfire risk, defensible space, and firescaping in Sleepy Hollow.   Additional information on creating Defensible Space is available at www.firesafemarin.org. The law requires that all property owners remove the flammable vegetation on your property to create a defensible space of at least 100 feet (PRC 4291). 

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Defensible Space Helps Protect Tam Valley Homes From Wednesday Night Grass Fires

The Marin IJ profiled a Defensible Space sucess story in Marin last night, when two vegetation fires burned near homes in Tam Valley.

Residents who cleared brush from around their homes on a Tamalpais Valley hillside were credited with helping prevent two grass fires from engulfing the neighborhood Wednesday evening.

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Mill Valley Chipper Days: July 28 - August 1, 2014

In an effort to help you reduce wildfire danger around your home, Mill Valley Fire Department will have a chipper machine and a crew working in several neighborhoods from July 28, 2014 to August 1, 2014.

The following streets are scheduled for the chipper program from July 28 - August 1:

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Sheep Help Reduce Fire Danger in Terra Linda

The Marin Independent Journal recently profiled the use of sheep in Terra Linda in an effort to reduce vegetation fuels near homes.  Goats, and less commonly sheep, are increasingly used as a cost effective and environmentally friendly tool in the effort to maintain vegetation and reduce wildfire danger.

Across the road from where a suspected arson fire threatened two Terra Linda neighborhoods in June, a herd of sheep is munching on dry grass as part of an effort to prevent anymore fires in the area.

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Be Fire Safe, Even When Clearing Defensible Space!

Hundreds of fires are started each year by power tools.   If you live in a wildland area, use extreme caution during fire season.  Lawn mowers, string trimmers, chain saws, grinders, welders, and tractors can all start fires if not used properly.

Mowing:  Striking  rocks can create sparks  and start fireas in dry grass. Use caution, mow only early in the day (before 10AM, when the weather is calm, cool, and moist). 

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Napa Wildfire Burns Homes, Forces Mandatory Evacuations

A massive wildfire burning in a remote area of Napa and Lake counties grew to 3,200 acres by Wednesday morning, threatening nearly 400 homes after destroying at least five Tuesday.

More than 1,000 firefighters, including dozens from Marin, are assigned to fight the "Butts Fire" from land and air as residents choked from smoke-filled skies and prayed that Tuesday's winds and warm temperatures would give way to cooler weather on Wednesday.

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Help Us Launch the FIRESafe NEWS Newsletter!

The new "FIRESafe NEWS" newsletter is distributed weekly by email when news is added to the FIRESafe MARIN website.  Please forward or share this link with your neighbors, friends, and family, and ask them to sign up to receive timely, local, wildfire and fire prevention news, tips, and updates in their inbox.  

Sign up to receive FIRESafe NEWS!

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NIFC Predicted Wildfire Potential, June through September 2014

The Predictive Services section of the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) has issued their Wildland Fire Potential Outlook for June through September, 2014.

According to NIFC modeling, the highest wildfire potential will be in:

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Funding Opportunity: 2015 Western States WUI Grant Program

The 2015 Western States Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) grant program is now accepting applications!  Funding is available for hazardous fuel reduction, prevention/education, and planning projects.  The deadline to submit applications to Cal Fire Units and Contract County contacts is JULY 16, 2014.  For detailed information and instructions on how to apply, visit the Cal Fire website: http://osfm.fire.ca.gov/fireplan/fireplanning.php.

Applicants must meet the grant criteria and eligibility. All grant application must meet the 50/50 (“dollar for dollar”) match requirement. Applicants should carefully read the instructions and consult with their local contact (Northern CA & Southern CA) if they have questions.

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Virtual workshop to address roof ignition concerns

Firewise Virtual Workshop: Understanding How Embers Ignite Roofs in a Wildland Fire and How to Make Your Roof More Survivable.

Join Firewise Communities/USA® residents throughout the country in a special virtual workshop event! The one-hour format includes a thirty minute presentation by a subject matter expert followed by a thirty minute live “Ask an Expert” interactive opportunity for pre-selected homeowners to ask a question related to the session’s topic. This unique learning format provides wildland/urban interface homeowners with information on how to make important mitigation modifications at their homes. Participation is limited to the first 100 registrants. Mark your calendars for the next “Ask an Expert” Virtual Workshop and join us August 19 at 2pm MDT for Mulch Combustibility – Choosing the Right Type for Your Wildland/Urban Interface Home. Pre-registration information will be available following the July 15 session.

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USAA Provides Policyholder Discounts in California

The California Department of Insurance has approved a filing by USAA to give homeowners insurance discounts to USAA members living in communities recognized by the Firewise Communities/USA® program.  This discount applies to policies issuing or renewing on or after October 1st 2014.

What is USAA?  

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Extreme Drought Worsens Marin Fire Danger

After three consecutive years of below-normal rainfall, California faces its most severe drought emergency in decades.  Governor Jerry Brown has called for Californians to reduce water use by 20 percent voluntarily, and mandatory rationing could be ordered soon so that homes, businesses and farms don’t run dry over the summer.  Wildfire danger is unusually high across California, with higher than normal fire danger in Marin County, which is classified as "Extreme Drought," the second-highest classification.

Marin County Fire Managers anticipate that the wildland firefighting community will be engaged in more and longer wildfires this year: the little rain we did receive kept large fuel sources (trees) dry while quickly rebuilding the more volatile inventory of ground grasses which have consequently now cured already. Soil moisture typically dampens temperature increases, but because the ground is so dry, ambient temperatures will tend to be warmer this summer.  The result is a landscape primed to burn with diminished supplies of water to fight fire.

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Green Waste Days: June and July 2014

FREE YARD WASTE AND VEGETATION DISPOSAL - In Nicasio, across from Nicasio Corporation Yard.

UPDATED:  July 12-13, 2014
9:00 AM to 4:00 PM

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Online Wildfire Updates and Information

Wildfire information and updates on current fires are available from several online sources.
 
This report summarizes the uncontained large fires across the United States and the resources assigned to them. 
 
This information system provides information, photos, maps and updates about wildfires and prescribed fires across the United States. Other incident information (hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.) may be posted here as well. 
 
This information system provides information on large fires in California.  
 
When planning your summer travels, remember to consider fire danger, fire permits, fire restrictions, trail closures, road closures and possible smoke....
 
Have a safe fire season!  
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NPS Fire Crews Gear up for 2014 Season

May 7th kicked off the 2014 season with an emphasis on lessons learned from the tragic loss of 19 firefighters during the Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona last year.  "Why did they leave the black?..."  was the unanswered, thought-provoking question that everyone who took the class walked away with. The "black" refers to an area which has already burned, and can provide a safety zone during a wildfire because its fuel has already been consumed.  Flaming front visible from Hwy 89, Yarnell Hill Fire, 2013The National Park Service S.F. Bay Area Network Fire Program consists of a 12-person hand crew,  a 5-person engine crew, leadership, and support staff who will be tasked with a series of fuel reduction projects, while also being ready to respond to wildfires. These resources are augmented with other local crews from Marin County Fire Department and Conservation Corps North Bay who complete park projects through cooperative agreements. Park maintenance divisions also play an important role in reducing fire hazards. Preliminary 2014 fuels management project list:

Point Reyes National Seashore
  • Bayview / Limantour Bishop Pine Thinning
  • Estero Prescribed Fire
  • Highway One Prescribed Fire
  • Bolinas Ridge Fuel Break
Golden Gate NRA
  • Tamalpais Valley Eucalyptus Thinning
  • Marinview Fuel Reduction
  • Fort Barry Eucalyptus Thinning
  • Coral Reef Eucalyptus Thinning
John Muir National Historic Site
  • Mount Wanda Fire Access Mowing
  • Mount Wanda Perimeter Defensible Space
Pinnacles National Park
  • Park Facilities Defensible Space
  • Bear Valley Roadside Fuel Reduction

Fire-related maintenance projects

  • Golden Gate NRA - Boundary Mowing, Rancho Corral de Tierra
  • Point Reyes National Seashore - Roadside Mowing, Limantour 
Project details will be announced soon when the 2014 work plan is finalized.   
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Welcome to FIRESafe MARIN

Welcome to our NEW website for 2014!  

Our Mission

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.

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

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