FIRESafe MARIN News

Wildfire Safety Blog and News from FIRESafe MARIN.

EXTREME Fire Weather Predicted for This Weekend: Red Flag Warning Issued

Red flag warning in effect for Marin County October 26-28, 2019

Weather conditions predicted for this weekend, Saturday through Monday are CRITICAL in all parts of Marin. The Fire Weather Watch has been upgraded to a Red Flag Warning. The National Weather Service is predicting conditions similar to, or potentially exceeding, what was observed during the North Bay fires of 2017. Extreme fire weather conditions will impact Marin county. The weather service referred to the forecasted winds as "historic." We aren't taking this warning lightly at FIRESafe MARIN, and neither should you. Prepare TODAY.


 Marin County, CA -- The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning and High Wind Advisory for the North Bay Mountains, interior valleys and other parts of the Bay Area, which is in effect from 8 PM Saturday to 11 AM Monday.

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Public Safety Power Shutdown Possible for Most of Marin This Weekend

Potential Marin PG&E PSPS map for October 26, 2019

SAN RAFAEL, CA – Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) has notified the County that it may activate its Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS) protocols in response to a high wind event and Red Flag Warning. At 7:30am this morning, PG&E said it could potentially initiate a planned power shutoff in parts of Marin County between 1pm and 5pm on October 26th, 2019.  PG&E estimated that 86,813 metered locations within Marin would be affected by a possible PSPS. The duration of the shutoff is unknown and will be determined by PG&E.

The Marin County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services is putting into motion its Electrical System De-energization Response Plan. Additionally, it is coordinating with nearby response partners in monitoring the power situation. The Emergency Operations Center will be activated in the event of the Public Safety Power Shutoff.  

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Muir Fire Burns 58 Acres in Marin Wednesday

Photo courtesy of Marin IJ

In Marin, a 58 acre wildfire near the coast shut down Highway 1 Wednesday.  The "Muir Fire" was reported around 10:45 a.m. Wednesday, and burned on both sides of Shoreline Highway between Stinson Beach and Muir Beach. Firefighters efforts to control the fire were made difficult by strong winds and extremely low humidities associated with the day's extreme fire weather and Red Flag Warning.

FIRESafe MARIN points out that this fire, burning under critical fire weather with easterly "offshore" winds started in the most advantageous location possible in Marin: near highway one, the winds could only push this fire downhill, towards the ocean. In nearly any other location in Marin, a fire under these conditions might have burned significantly more acreage - and some locations in Marin had the potential for a catastrophic wildfire Wednesday due to high winds and low humidities.

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Kincade Fire Forces Thousands to Evacuate in Sonoma

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The Kincade wildfire burning just northeast of Geyserville in north Sonoma County had scorched 21,900 acres and was 5% contained, according to a Friday morning estimate from Cal Fire.

A firefighting force of about 1,300 personnel was assigned to the Kincade fire (including at least 70 personnel, 10 engines, 2 fire crews, 1 bulldozer, and 1 water tender from Marin) which ignited during a windstorm Wednesday night in the remote geothermal energy production area of The Geysers in the Mayacamas Mountains. It burned southward into the edges of the Alexander Valley, destroying at least 49 structures.

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Wildfire Evacuation Preparedness Tips

Camp Fire Evacuation

When to Evacuate

Leave immediately if you receive a notification or alert to avoid being caught in fire, smoke or road congestion. Don’t wait to be ordered by authorities to leave if you are unsure, feel threatened, or lose power or communications. Law enforcement will direct the evacuation, and they will work to keep intersections open and moving, but their resources may be limited. Evacuating early (before evacuation is ordered) helps keep roads clear of congestion, and lets fire apparatus move more freely to do their job. If you are advised to leave, don’t hesitate!

  • In Marin, the fire Incident Commander (IC) will issue the evacuation order through the local law enforcement agency, and will determine the areas to be evacuated and escape routes to use (if there are options) depending upon the fire’s location, behavior, winds, terrain, etc.
  • Law enforcement agencies are responsible for enforcing an evacuation order. Follow their directions promptly.
  • You will be advised of potential evacuations as early as possible by Alert Marin.  YOU MUST REGISTER TO RECEIVE ALERTS.
  • You must take the initiative to stay informed and aware. Listen to your AM/FM radio  and TV for announcements from law enforcement and emergency personnel. Monitor social media and pay attention to your surroundings for changes in weather, smoke, embers, or other signs of danger.
    • Monitor FM 106.9, AM 740 (KCBS); AM 810 (KGO); FM 88.5 (KQED); FM 92.3, FM 90.5, FM 89.9 (KWMR, in West Marin). Follow @MarinSheriff, @MarinCountyFire, and your local agency social channels (Twitter first, Facebook, NextDoor second).
  • You may be directed to temporary assembly areas to await transfer to a safe location.

All evacuation instructions provided by officials should be followed immediately for your safety.

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Wildfire Evacuation Tips: Part Two

Cars evacuating wildfire

ALERTS AND NOTIFICATIONS

When a wildfire threatens your community, emergency managers will determine areas to be evacuated, and routes to use, depending upon the fire’s current and predicted location. Law enforcement officers are responsible for enforcing an evacuation order.  Follow their directions promptly.

If time allows, officials will attempt to advise you of the safest evacuation routes. You must take the initiative to keep informed and alert. Listen to your radio for updates on changing conditions. Monitor Alert Marin and Nixle for notifications and updates You may be directed to temporary assembly or refuge areas to await transfer to a safe location.

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Are You Registered for Alert MArin and Nixle?

Alert-Marin-Sign

REGISTER FOR ALERT MARIN

About Alert Marin

If you live, work, or go to school in Marin County and are 18 and over, you should register your cell phone or VoIP (voice over internet protocol) phone to receive emergency alerts sent by call, text, email, or smartphone application.

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It's Not Too Late to Prepare: 10 Things You Can Do Today

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A significant fire-weather event is predicted for this weekend, following Wednesday's Red Flag Warning that resulted in dozens of homes destroyed in Sonoma county.  This weekend's predicted weather has even more damaging potential, with the National Weather Service referring to the potential 80 MPH winds as ones of "historic" strength.

FIRESafe MARIN has these last minute tips for Marin residents to prepare for the weekend's fire potential (all of these can be done without power - thanks PG&E!):

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Marin Reaches 50 Firewise USA Site Milestone!

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With 50 nationally recognized neighborhoods, Marin is the fastest growing county in the US for the Firewise USA program in 2019 and second in the nation for the number of recognized sites!  We've already added 20 new sites this year, and are working with 27 more neighborhoods to help them achieve this important recognition.  

At the October 11 FIRESafe MARIN meeting, we'll recognize the 9 newest sites with a presentation of a plaque.  Please accept our invitation to congratulate these new sites: 

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Final 2 "Living With Fire" Seminars of 2019!

Living With Fire in Marin - Seminars

The final two "Living With Fire" seminars of 2019 are scheduled. Register today if you haven't already attended this informative FREE 2 hour seminar.

Living With Fire is a wildfire preparedness education program developed by FIRESafe MARIN in conjunction with the Marin County Fire Chiefs Association, Marin County Fire Prevention Officers Association, and wildfire and home hardening experts.  This program covers:

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NWS Issues Red Flag Warning For North Bay Mountains

Red Flag Warning 10-5-19

October 5-6, 2019

Warning in effect for elevations above 1000 feet Saturday evening through 10AM Sunday morning.  

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Home Hardening Workshop for Building Professionals: November 19

2019-11-19Wildfire Home Hardening workshop for Contractors

Tuesday, November 19 FIRESafe MARIN will host two wildfire "home hardening" workshops at Embassy Suites in San Rafael.  

Register online TODAY!

1PM Workshop for Contractors, Architects, Designers, Handymen

  • 1PM-4PM Workshop and Seminar for Building Professionals
  • 4PM-5PM Manufacturer Showcase and Live Burn Demo

Recognizing that home-hardening through improved architectural design, ember and ignition resistant material selection, and retrofitting existing buildings are the most important factors in improving home survival during wildfires, FIRESafe MARIN has developed a seminar and training curriculum to introduce building professionals to these concepts.

Taught by experts in the field of building science, home hardening, and wildfire, this seminar is intended for building industry professionals to:

  • Train the contractor, handyman, architect, and owner/builder to recognize structural vulnerabilities to wildfires and embers;
  • Introduce ignition and ember resistant designs and materials;
  • Provide home-hardening and retrofitting resources;
  • Encourage building modifications to reduce the likelihood of structural ignitions during wildfires;
  • Develop a list of contractors to provide Marin homeowners with access to knowledgeable professionals;
  • Meet manufacturers and see ignition resistant and noncombustible building materials.

**Weather permitting, a live fire demonstration will be conducted at 5PM to demonstrate the differences between ordinary and fire-resistant construction. 

Homeowners are encouraged to attend the Live burn demonstration at 5PM, and stay for a 2 hour seminar focused on home hardening from the homeowner's perspective.

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Home Hardening Workshop for Homeowners

2019-11-19 Home Hardening Workshop for Homeowners

Attention Marin Homeowners! Join FIRESafe MARIN for a FREE 2-hour seminar on wildfire home-hardening.

Register online TODAY!

  • 5PM Live Burn Demo and Manufacturer Showcase
  • 6PM-8PM Seminar for Homeowners

Recognizing that home-hardening through improved architectural design, ember and ignition resistant material selection, and retrofitting existing buildings are the most important factors in improving home survival during wildfires, FIRESafe MARIN has developed a seminar and training curriculum to introduce homeowners to these concepts.

Taught by experts in the field of wildfire, home hardening, and building science, this seminar will help Marin homeowners to:

  • Identify their home’s vulnerabilities to wildfires and embers;
  • Introduce ignition and ember resistant design and materials;
  • Provide home-hardening and retrofitting resources;
  • Encourage building modifications to reduce the likelihood of structural ignitions during wildfires;
  • Manufacturer representatives will be on-site to display fire resistant building materials.

**Weather permitting, a live fire demonstration will be conducted at 5PM to demonstrate the differences between ordinary and fire-resistant construction. 

Are you a building industry professional? At 1PM November 19, FIRESafe MARIN will host an even more detailed and informative 4 hour seminar for architects, contractors, handmen, and DIYers. If you're interested in attending this seminar, click here...

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Upcoming Living With Fire" Seminars in Marin

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Register today for one of our acclaimed "Living With Fire" seminars.  Only four more seminars scheduled for 2019!

Learn about your community’s hazard and what you can do about it from the wildfire experts from FIRESafe MARIN and your local fire department.

  • Are you and your family prepared to safely evacuate when a wildfire strikes?
  • Is your home vulnerable to igniting from wildfire embers?
  • Does your home have adequate Defensible Space?
  • Are you interested in working with neighbors and land managers to reduce fire risk in your community? 
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Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority Initiative

MWPA Logo

Wildfires are bigger, burn longer, cause more damage, and kill more people than ever before. This new reality requires greatly expanding prevention, preparedness, and fuel-reduction efforts throughout Marin. The Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority (MWPA) is a coalition of local fire agencies, emergency service providers, and cities, towns, and county government being formed to support the development and implementation of a comprehensive wildfire prevention and emergency preparedness initiative.

MWPA Initiative

Key elements of this initiative include:
  • Improving emergency alert and warning systems to enhance early alert for organized evacuations
  • Expanding coordinated efforts to reduce combustible plants and vegetation
  • Improving evacuation routes and infrastructure to enhance traffic flow and promote safe evacuations
  • Expanding and enhancing defensible space and home evaluations and educating homeowners about how to reduce the vulnerability of their home and neighborhood to wildfire
  • Providing grants and support to seniors, persons with disabilities, and low-income homeowners who need assistance maintaining a defensible space, making homes fire resistant, reducing combustible vegetation, and preparing for emergencies
  • Creating and sustaining a coordinated local wildfire public safety and disaster preparedness program
  • Supporting residents to establish Firewise USA programs in neighborhoods through ongoing public education

Bringing a Local Wildfire Prevention Initiative to Reality

  • Marin’s fire agencies, cities, towns, and county government are currently working to form the MWPA and develop a coordinated program for wildfire prevention.
  • To be successful, a stable source of locally-controlled funding dedicated to wildfire prevention and public safety is required.
  • A countywide parcel tax measure is under consideration for the March 2020 election to provide dedicated funding for the MWPA program.

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96 Years Ago Today: Marin's Largest Wildfire

1923-09-17 Marin Wildfire Headline

Late in the day on September 17, 1923, a fast moving wildfire started near Novato, burning nearly 50,000 acres and dozens of homes before reaching the Bolinas ridge and the slopes of Mt Tamalpais. Remarkable for the destruction it caused, this remains Marin's largest historical wildfire and teaches important lessons for current Marin residents.

The wind whipped wildfire occurred during an offshore wind event, known as "Diablo Winds," (and which would trigger a "Red Flag Warning" today), similar to the Santa Ana winds common in southern California. 

Notably, several destructive wildfires burned that day in the Bay Area and northern California, including what would become known as "The Great Fire" in the city of Berkeley, and fires in Nuns Canyon and Calistoga in Napa county, eerily similar to the North Bay fires of 2017.  The late season fire weather and low fuel moistures, similar to what we frequently experience in September and October, 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 that day.

From the Sausalito News, Volume XXXVIII, Number 38, September 22, 1923

"Thousands of homes were endangered and many were destroyed, and large areas of timber and grazing land burned over by one of the largest fires that ever took place in this county [Marin], that started at Ignacio last Sunday and swept southerly and is now burning in the vicinity of Lagunitas; estimated damage was easily a quarter of a million dollars. At the same time fires were burning in eighteen counties throughout the state.

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Register today for a FREE "Living With Fire" Seminar

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Living With Fire is a wildfire preparedness education program developed by FIRESafe MARIN in conjunction with the Marin County Fire Chiefs Association, Marin County Fire Prevention Officers Asscoiation, and wildfire and home hardening experts.  Presented in a 90 minutes with 30 minutes for Q&A, this program will cover:

  1. Personal Preparedness, Safety, and Evacuations
  2. Home Hardening and Reducing Structural Ignitions
  3. Defensible Space and Firescaping
  4. Community and Neighborhoods Preparedness: Firewise USA

Upcoming Seminars (REGISTER ONLINE)

Septemebr 18, 2019 7:00 pm -9:00 pm at Subud Marin

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Marin Evacuation Guide Updated

Marin Wildfire Evacuation Guide

FIRESafe MARIN launched an all new version of our informative Wildfire Evacuation Guide.  Our new webpage includes lessons learned from California's recent wildfires, evacuation preparedness tips and best-practices, and links to additional detailed resources.

Learn about:

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"Living With Fire" Magazine Arriving in Mailboxes!

Living-With-Fire magazine cover, 2019

Residents of Marin's Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) areas began receiving FIRESafe MARIN's comprehensive "Living With Fire" magazine last week.  This 50 page booklet was produced and mailed to more than 50,000 Marin addresses with funding from a CAL FIRE fire prevention grant. 

Copies will continue to arrive by mail over the next 1-2 weeks - most, but not all, Marin WUI addresses will receive a copy.  Didn't receive a copy? Attend one of our upcoming "Living With Fire" seminars and we'll be happy to give you a free copy of the companion magazine!

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Marin Welcomes 5 New Firewise Communities!

Marin Firewise Communities

FIRESafe MARIN is honored to welcome the following new Firewise USA "sites" (since June) into Marin's growing list of nationally recognized neighborhoods!

  • Oak Springs Summit-Woodside (San Anselmo)
  • For(r)est Ave Area (Fairfax)
  • Kent/Palm Neighborhood (Mill Valley)
  • Meadow Oaks HOA (San Rafael)
  • Deer Park (Fairfax)

Marin County s the fastest growing county in the nation for participation in the Firewise USA recognition program!  These neighborhoods enjoy the benefits of living in a safer environment, with tangibles like insurance discounts and a greater sense of community.  Is your neighborhood interested in joining this valuable program?  Learn more at www.firesafemarin.org/firewise

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RED FLAG WARNING Issued for North Bay Mountains

Red Flag Warning for Marin, June 7-9, 2019

Marin County, CA.  June 7, 2019 -- The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for the North Bay Mountains and other parts of the Bay Area above 1000 feet, which is in effect from 9 PM this evening (Friday) to 5 PM Sunday. 

A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions are expected during this time frame with a combination of strong off shore winds with gusts to 40-50 miles per hour and low relative humidity ranging from 12-22% percent.

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Marin Welcomes 11 new Firewise Communities!

manor_hill_firewise

FIRESafe MARIN is honored to welcome the following new Firewise USA "sites" into Marin's growing list of nationally recognized neighborhoods!

  • Manor Hill (Fairfax)
  • Hidden Valley (Corte Madera)
  • Loch Lomond Highlands HOA (San Rafael)
  • Sunny Oaks/Bayhills (San Rafael)
  • Paradise Ranch Estates (Inverness)
  • Lower Edgewood (Mill Valley)
  • Bald Hill (San Anselmo)
  • Alto Sutton Neighborhood (Mill Valley)
  • Los Robles Mobile Home Park (San Rafael)
  • Deer Park (Fairfax - coming soon!)
  • Glenwood (San Rafael - coming soon!)

Marin County s the fastest growing county in the nation for participation in the Firewise USA recognition program.  These neighborhoods enjoy the benefits of living in a safer environment, with tangibles like insurance discounts and a greater sense of community.  Is your neighborhood interested in joining this valuable program?  Learn more at www.firesafemarin.org/firewise.

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FIRESafe MARIN Receives $1 Million Grant for Evacuation Route Clearance in Central Marin

FIRESafe MARIN Evacuation Route Grant

San Anselmo, CA, - May 1, 2019: As California expands efforts to prevent devastating wildfires, CAL FIRE announced on April 16 over $43 million in grants awarded to 66 local fire prevention projects across the state.  In Marin county, FIRESafe MARIN was selected to receive $993,500 to help fund a $1.3 million project aimed at improving the safety of evacuation routes in seven central Marin communities.

The grant provides funding to seven hillside neighborhoods along the eastern slopes of Mt. Tamalpais.  In order to improve evacuation routes there, vegetation will be reduced along more than 55 miles of roads, improving access and egress, and strategically dispersing fuel reduction over a 3,000-acre geographic area with a long history of wildfires.  The project locations were selected based on priorities identified in the 2017 Marin Community Wildfire Protection Plan.

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Are You Prepared to Evacuate?

Marin Wildfire Evacuation Guide

Firesafe Marin's Wildfire Evacuation Guide is a comprehensive and informative resource for wildfire evacuation preparedness in Marin.  With information on alerting and notifications, personal and family safety, and the evacuation process itself, this guide may help you survive even the most catastrophic wildfire.

Learn how to:

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Goats Are Active in Marin! FIRESafe MARIN's Goat Grazing Program

FIRESafe MARIN Goat Grazing Program 2019

Three herds of goats and sheep, totalling 1200 head, are working in Sleepy Hollow, Terra Linda, Lucas Valley, San Rafael, San Anselmo, and Fairfax in 2019 as part of a large-scale fire hazard reduction project spearheaded by local landowners, Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District (SHFPD)Marin County Open Space District (MCOSD), and FIRESafe MARIN. This project is a collaborative effort resulting from the Marin CWPP and 2016 SHFPD Wildfire Hazard and Wildland Urban Interface Area Assessment, which identified key locations for fuel reduction to reduce the impact of wildfires in Marin communities.  By partnering with adjacent local landowners, including Rocking H Ranch, Triple-C Ranch, San Domenico School, MCOSD, Ross Valley School District, and the Towns of San Anselmo and Fairfax, the multi-agency project will strategically reduce hazardous fuels on nearly 500 acres of high-risk grassy woodlands in central Marin.

We Need Your Help!

FIRESafe MARIN is working hard to bring these four legged weed-eaters to more Marin communities in 2019 and beyond.  We need to raise at least $100,000 to bring them to more communities and locations.  You can participate by supporting our Fund-A-Goat program!  Your tax-deductible donation will help bring goats to more backyards and open spaces, and with every donation of $100 or more, you'll get to name a goat!  We'll send a photo of your named goat, with its corresponding number, and invite you on a guided walk to meet the goats and learn more about this important program from our wildfire experts.

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Tickets Still Available! The Camp Fire Documentary: Benefit Screening May 14

Camp Fire Documentary Benefit Screening Mill Valley

You're invited to join FIRESafe MARIN for a Benefit Screening of The Camp Fire Documentary screening May 14, 2019, 6:30PM at CineArts Sequoia Theater in Mill Valley. All funds raised will support survivors of the Camp Fire and FIRESafe MARIN's goat grazing program.


FIRESafe MARIN presents The Camp Fire Documentary, which tells a small part of the story one county experienced during its darkest day. The Camp Fire Documentary is a powerful and moving first person account from individuals and First Responders that battled the inferno that struck Concow, Paradise, Magalia and Chico in Butte County California on November 8, 2018. This documentary was produced by local filmmaker Nancy Hamilton who compiled a substantial portion of her film from people’s cell phone footage of the catastrophic fire.

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Reminder: Marin Community Wildfire Forum This Saturday at Embassy Suites in San Rafael

Marin Wildfire Forum May 4, 2019

Please join us May 4, 2019 at 10AM at Embassy Suites in San Rafael for a FREE community presentation and panel discussion on wildfire preparedness, with an introduction to important new efforts that will help make Marin more wildfire resilient.  We'll have tables and booths representing a variety of stakeholders, contractors, and agency representatives of agencies and industries who play a role in Marin's wildfire readiness.

What: Opening with a special guest presentation from a Camp Fire evacuation survivor, the Marin Wildfire Forum will look at prevention and preparedness through a countywide lens. Representatives from local government, fire agencies, land managers, emergency services, law enforcement, community leaders and wildfire experts will update residents on progress to date, work to come, and future needs. Residents will learn what they can do to protect their homes and what we can do together to make Marin as wildfire safe and emergency ready as possible.

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FundAGoat: Help Us Bring Goats to Your Neighborhood!

Wildfire Goats in Marin!

Help us "FundAGoat" in Marin! We're working to raise $100,000 to bring goats to Marin communities for wildfire hazard reduction. To Donate: Text "Goat" to 77453 or visit www.ifundahero.com/donations/firesafe-marin. Your donation is tax deductible, and if you donate $100 or more, you'll get to name a goat!

Fund-A-Goat

Grazing is a natural, economical, and sustainable solution to reducing vegetation fuel and wildfire hazards in Marin. In 2018 FIRESafe MARIN helped bring 800 goats and sheep to central Marin where they grazed more than 340 acres of high-risk grass woodlands, clearing 1-2 acres a day of vegetation, including non-native, invasive plants. This approach proved cost effective and gentle on the land, reducing the fuels for fire, restoring native grasslands where firefighters can more easily control fires, limiting greenhouse gas emissions, and creating pastoral fuel breaks in the open spaces between communities.  In 2019, with your help, we plan to expand this valuable project to 1200+ goats and nearly 500 acres!

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Marin Community Wildfire Forum: May 4

Marin Community Wildfire Forum

Please join us May 4, 2019 at 10AM at Embassy Suites in San Rafael for a FREE community presentation and panel discussion on wildfire preparedness, with an introduction to important new efforts that will elp make Marin more wildfire resilient.  We'll have tables and booths representing a variety of stakeholders, contractors, and agency representatives of agancies and industries who play a role in Marin's wildfire readiness.

What: Opening with a special guest presentation from a Camp Fire evacuation survivor, the Marin Wildfire Forum will look at prevention and preparedness through a countywide lens. Representatives from local government, fire agencies, land managers, emergency services, law enforcement, community leaders and wildfire experts will update residents on progress to date, work to come, and future needs. Residents will learn what they can do to protect their homes and what we can do together to make Marin as wildfire safe and emergency ready as possible.

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Check Out Our Upcoming Events!

FIRESafe MARIN recently added an "events' page to our informative website, listing upcoming events, seminars, workshops, and more.  Take a look at www.firesafemarin.org/events for current and upcoming listings, and check back often. 

Highlights

  • Our popular education program has been updated and renamed for 2019.  The new "Living With Fire" seminars will be offered in 30, 60, and 90 minute formats throughout the year, and may require pre-registration for attendance.  Multiple sessions are already online in April and May (Seminars are currently scheduled for April 25, April 29, May 5, May 7).
  • Don't miss the May 4 Marin Community Wildfire Forum at Embassy Suites in San Rafael.  This important event should should be on the calendar for all Marin residents concerned about wildfire and who want to learn what your fire departments and public partners are doing to reduce our risk.
  • On May 8, the "FIRESTORM: Wildfires and Climate Change " forum will include experts and panelists in a discussion about climate change and its role in driving wildfires. 
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Firestorm: Wildfires and Climate Change - May 8

Firestorm: Wildfires and Climate Change - May 8

FIRESTORM: WILDFIRES AND CLIMATE CHANGE - A Public Forum

Wednesday, May 8, 2019 | 7:00 – 9:00 PM
San Rafael Community Center, 618 B St., San Rafael

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Western Oaks Village in Novato Receives Firewise USA Recognition

WOVA Firewise Committee

FIRESafe MARIN is pleased to welcome Western Oaks Village in Novato as Marin's newest Firewise USA site.

Western Oaks Village Association(WOVA) consists of 322 multi family homes within 80 acres. The complex was built in 3 phases from 1973 to 1990.  

The homes are interspersed with vegetation including fine fuel, tall grasses, French Broom, all sizes of shrubs, and trees. The site has between 900-1000 trees, and is a classic WUI environment. 

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Marin Receives 3 Wildfire Community Preparedness Day Awards

Wildfire Community Preparedness Day

3 Marin Firewise USA sites applied for grants from the NFPA and State Farm for Wildfire Community Preparedness Day projects.  All three grants were awarded through a competitive voting process, with the Marin support of FIRESafe MARIN's subscriber votes.

Grants were awarded to:

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Vote For Marin Firewise Projects in Your Neighborhood!

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We need your daily votes for the next 2 weeks!

WIldfire Community Preparedness Day is May 4, 2019.  FIRESafe MARIN is helping spearhead local projects in neighborhoods all over Marin that day.  Several neighborhoods applied for special grant funding from State Farm Insurance and the NFPA to help support their projects that day.

Projects are selected based on the number of votes they receive!  Help us by voting for Marin's efforts!  You can vote once per day, per device!  Vote daily from now until March 1

Manor Hill, Fairfax: Project Overview

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Wildfire Safety and Vegetation Management Workshop For Contractors: March 19

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Register Online!

You're invited to join us for Marin's first FREE "Wildfire Safety and Vegetation Management Workshop For Contractors" to help Marin's many Green Industry professionals, including - TREE SERVICES, ARBORISTS, AND LANDSCAPERS - better understand Marin's wildfire risk, defensible space laws, and best practices for creating a wildfire resistant landscape.

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Want to Organize Your Neighborhood for Wildfire Preparedness?

Friday March 8 2019 Firewise Workshop

Are you a neighborhood leader? Join us for a Firewise Workshop March 8, 2019

Friday, March 8, 2019 from 9am-11am, FIRESafe MARIN will host a community workshop to help Marin neighborhoods organize to achieve Firewise USA® recognition. Learn about the benefits and challenges of the Firewise USA® program and how it might fit for your for your neighborhood, while preparing a plan to help your community survive a wildfire. We'll have representatives on-hand from every Marin fire department, land management agencies like MMWD and Open Space, PG&E, and others to help you understand Marin's wildfire risk and develop a neighborhood-scale plan to address the risk. The NFPA's Firewise USA® program is a process that empowers neighbors to work together in reducing their wildfire risk. Join the growing network of more than 1,500 recognized Firewise USA® sites/communities (including 30 32 neighborhoods in Marin, more than any other county in California!) taking action and ownership in preparing and protecting their homes against the threat of wildfire.

This seminar is intended for neighborhood leaders interested in organizing a Firewise effort in their community - it's not a class for individual homeowners looking for wildfire safety tips. Look for homeowner preparedness classes beginning spring 2019 at www.firesafemarin.org!

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2019 Firewise USA Workshop: March 8

Friday, March 8, 2019 Firewise Workshop

Friday, March 8, 2019 from 9am-11am, FIRESafe MARIN will host a community workshop to help Marin neighborhoods organize to achieve Firewise USA® recognition. Learn about the benefits and challenges of the Firewise USA® program and how it might fit for your for your neighborhood, while preparing a plan to help your community survive a wildfire. We'll have representatives on-hand from every Marin fire department, land management agencies like MMWD and Open Space, PG&E, and others to help you understand Marin's wildfire risk and develop a neighborhood-scale plan to address the risk. The NFPA's Firewise USA® program is a process that empowers neighbors to work together in reducing their wildfire risk. Join the growing network of more than 1,500 recognized Firewise USA® sites/communities (including 30 neighborhoods in Marin, more than any other county in California!) taking action and ownership in preparing and protecting their homes against the threat of wildfire.

This seminar is intended for neighborhood leaders interested in organizing a Firewise effort in their community - it's not a class for individual homeowners looking for wildfire safety tips. Look for homeowner preparedness classes beginning spring 2019 at www.firesafemarin.org!

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Quick Tips: Takeaways from the Camp Fire in Butte County

Camp Fire Evacuation

2017 and 2018 have marked a year of lessons learned for communities and firefighters across California.  In 2017, less than 1 year ago, the Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa broke the record for homes destroyed by a single wildfire in modern US history.  One month later, the Thomas Fire in Southern California became the largest wildfire in California history.  Those records didn't last long.  The Camp Fire in Butte County started two days ago and is now the most destructive wildfire - burning nearly 7,000 12,000 19,000 structures (13,972 residences, 528 commercial and 4,293 other buildings) and destroying an entire city in just a few hours.  The 2018 Mendocino Complex fires shattered the Thomas fire's record after only 8 months, burning almost 3 times the area of what is now the second largest California fire.

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

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Marin Leads California in Firewise USA Sites

Firewise USA Sign at the Entrance to a recognize Firewise site

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

With 30 recognized communities as of December 31, 2018, Marin has more Firewise sites than any other county in California, and we are now the fastest growing county in the United States!  We added 21 new communities in 2018, and plan to more than double that next year with the help of active neighborhood leaders and energized residents.

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

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One Year Ago, Tonight: The North Bay Fires

CHP2_FIRE

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

  1. Evacuation Preparedness Guide
  2. Creating Defensible Space
  3. Hardening Your Home
  4. Marin's Firewise USA Program
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FAQs: "Has anyone told FIRESafe MARIN that it rained this week. Why are you issuing a Red Flag Warning?!"

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

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

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Webinar: Wildfires and Insurance - How to be financially prepared

Wednesday, October 10, 12:00-1:00 pm

Wildfires and insurance: learn how to be financially prepared

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

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

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New Firewise Resources for Homeowners and Resident Leaders

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

Your Home and Wildfire

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

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Overnight Wildfire in West Marin Forces Evacuations

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

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

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

Continue reading for additional information and resources.

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Alert Marin - Emergency Notification System

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

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

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

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FIRE IN MARIN: FREE 2 HOUR SEMINAR

Fire in Marin Flyer Fire in Marin Flyer

Free 2-hour seminar for Marin residents

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

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

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Equine Emergency Planning and Response - Marin County

Wildfire Horse Evacuation Wildfire Horse Evacuation

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

Learn more at the FIRESafe MARIN Large Animal Evacuation page.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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

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

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

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

Plan to watch this important webinar!

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

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FIRESafe MARIN Meeting Friday, September 14

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


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

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Drones and Wildfires Don’t Mix

Firefighting Aircraft Can't Fly When Your Drone is in the Air Firefighting Aircraft Can't Fly When Your Drone is in the Air

More than 120 wildfires are burning across 1.6 million acres in the United States. Firefighters aren’t just struggling to battle these blazes, they’re also facing the dangers posed by unauthorized drone flights over or near the fires. Firefighters across the nation have repeatedly been forced to cease helicopter and airplane operations because the presence of drones prevented them from flying safely. In these circumstances, the minutes or hours of flight delay could mean lost lives and destroyed property. 

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Fire-Prone Plants

Juniper is among the most fire prone plants commonly found in landscaping around homes in Marin and California Juniper is among the most fire prone plants commonly found in landscaping around homes in Marin and California

FIRESafe MARIN provides a searchable list of fire-prone plants that should be avoided in the landscaping around homes in Marin's Wildland-Urban interface areas.  Download a printable PDF copy of the Fire-Prone Plant List here...

IDENTIFYING FIRE-PRONE PLANTS

Use this list to identify Marin's most common fire-prone plants.  These plants ignite readily and burn intensely, and should be avoided (or removed, if noted) if present in a home's Defensible Space zone or close to roads and driveways.  If removal is not an option, intensive maintenance may be required to reduce flammability.  Your fire department may require removal of the plants on this list within 100' of structures.

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CAL FIRE Awards $200,000 in Grants for Marin Wildfire Safety Projects

CAL FIRE's California Climate Investments Foire Prevention Grant Program to benefit Marin residents CAL FIRE's California Climate Investments Foire Prevention Grant Program to benefit Marin residents

CAL FIRE informed FIRESafe MARIN that three grants totalling $200,000 have been awarded to Marin for 2018 wildfire hazard reduction, planning, and education projects.

Through the California Climate Investments (CCI) Fire Prevention Grant Program, CAL FIRE aims to reduce the risk of wildland fires to habitable structures and communities, while maximizing carbon sequestration in healthy wildland habitat and minimizing the uncontrolled release of emissions emitted by wildfires.

  • $71,288 was awarded to FIRESafe MARIN's Marin County Living With Fire Education Program which will expand upon and distribute a print education program in Marin County, with the goal of reaching all property owners and residents in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) in all SRA and LRA jurisdictions in Marin (approximately 42,000 properties).
  • $53,680 was awarded to Southern Marin Fire District to develop a Wildfire Mitigation Plan for the District.
  • $75,000 was awarded to Marin County Open Spsace District to create a two mile shaded fuel break in Pacheco Valle, Novato, by cutting the annual grasses and removing dead and downed trees up to 200 feet from the structures. The community is actively removing all fire prone vegetation immediately surrounding their homes.
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California Wildfire Record Broken for Second Time in 8 Months

The Mendocino Complex Fire has now surpassed last year's Thomas Fire, which burned 281,893 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, as the largest fire in California history.

[FIRESafe MARIN reminds all Marin residents that a majority of the state's (and nation's) most destructive - and now the largest - wildfires have occurred within 60 miles of your home...]

Catastrophic wildfires continue to ravage California, as one blaze nearly doubled in size over the last three days, making it the largest in the state's history. Thankfully, no one has been injured so far in the Mendocino Complex Fire, which consists of two fires -- the Ranch Fire and the River Fire -- burning around Clear Lake, in Lake and Mendocino counties in Northern California.

The Mendocino Complex Fire has now surpassed last year's Thomas Fire, which burned 281,893 acres in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, as the largest fire in California history.  Altogether, the Mendocino Complex Fire has burned 283,800 acres -- growing about 80% since Friday night. As of Monday evening, it was 30% contained and had destroyed 75 residences.

Exhausted firefighters across the state, including more than 60 from Marin, are trying to contain 16 major fires that are burning in hot, dry and windy conditions.On Monday, another fast-moving fire ignited in the state -- this time in Orange County, where firefighters battled the Holy Fire that expanded to more than 4,000 acres. That fire started in the Cleveland National Forest and evacuations in the nearby areas have been ordered, according to the Orange County Fire Authority.

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Is Your Landscaping Mulch a Fire Hazard?

mulch_fire_shredded_redwood

HOMEOWNERS SHOULD CHOOSE THE RIGHT LANDSCAPING MULCHES TO REDUCE THE LIKELIHOOD OF IGNITION FROM EMBERS DURING A WILDFIRE AND IMPROVE THE HEALTH OF PLANTS AROUND THEIR HOMES

Mulch has many positive attributes in residential landscaping. It reduces the water requirements of plants, cools the soil temperature, controls weeds and soil erosion, and visually enhances the landscape. But a major drawback is that many are combustible, which presents a huge problem in fire prone areas. Embers from an approaching wildfire can ignite areas where mulch is used. If these areas are adjacent to the home, it could be wind up to be a disastrous mix.

An evaluation of mulch combustibility was performed in 2008 by the University of California Cooperative Extension and the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. The results from this project offer recommendations for uses of mulches in wildfire hazard areas. 

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Lucas Valley Chipper Day August 16

Free Chipper Day Thurs. Aug. 16th - Registration Required

Lucas Valley Homeowners Association and FIRESafe MARIN are sponsoring a free chipepr day for residents of the HOA and Firewise USA Community.

Event Date: 16-Aug-2018 

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Wildfire Evacuation Checklist and Go Kit

UPDATED! Download our printable Evacuation Ckecklist and Family Communication Plan!  Print a copy for every family member and fill out in advance.When an evacuation is anticipated, follow these checklists (if time allows) to give you and your home the best chance of surviving a wildfire.

In General

 Monitor local news and radio stations for fire information.  In Marin, AM740, 810 and FM 88.5 are good options.

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Wildfire Preparedness Week Day 5: Get Set!

Evacuation Preparedness

7 day guide to improving your home and family's wildfire preparedness with easy, inexpensive tips.

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

Ready, Set, Go.  If you've followed days 1-4 of our Wildfire Preparedness Week step-by-step planning guide, you've now taken steps to "Ready" your home for wildfire.  By creating Defensible Space, and taking steps to harden your home and maintain fire resistant landscaping, firefighters have a fighting-chance to save your home when wildfire strikes.  Today we'll look at the first stage of preparation to evacuate.

Remember: The 2017 North Bay firestorm was the most destructive wildfire in US historyl ess that 20 miles from Marin.  43 people perished in the fires, most of whom were residents attempting, too late, to evacuate.  In 1991, the second most destructive wildfire in US history killed 25 people in the Oakland/Berkeley Hills less than 10 miles from Marin!  

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Wildfire Preparedness Week Day 4: Choose the Right Plants

Fire Safe Plants and Landscaping

A simple, 7-day guide to improving your home and family's wildfire preparedness with easy, inexpensive tips.

Day 4: Choose the Right Plants

Plant selection in your garden and the space surrounding your home can play an important role in protecting your property, and your neighborhood, during a wildfire.  FIRESafe MARIN pioneered the concept of a "fire safe" plant list in the early 1990s, partnering with the University of California to develop a list of fire-resistant landscaping plants specific to Marin county, and northern California's mediterranean climate.  

Marin's Fire Safe Plant List Updated in 2017!

FIRESafe MARIN's "Fire Safe Plant List" was updated last year, the most significant update since it was originally produced in 1998!  We've consolidated the list, and made it searchable online.  Some plants once recommended as "fire-safe" were removed as invasive, and a few new species have been added to help beautify AND protect your home.  We've launched our new website and plant list, and continue to improve and add to the list of recommended plants.  Check back regularly at www.firesafemarin.org/plants!

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Wildfire Preparedness Week Day 3: Expand Your Defensible Space

c-uses-very-little-water-once-established

A simple, 7 day guide to improving your home and family's wildfire preparedness with easy, inexpensive tips.

Defensible space is essential to improve your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire.  It’s the buffer you create between a building on your property and the grass, trees, shrubs, or any wildland area that surround it.  This space is needed to slow or stop the spread of wildfire and it protects your home from catching fire – either from direct flame contact or radiant heat.  Defensible space is also important for the protection of the firefighters defending your home, and it's required by law!

Creating an area of defensible space does not mean you need a ring of bare dirt around your home.  It does not mean you need to remove all of the trees on your property.  It does, however require some planning and upkeep.  With proper planning, you can have both a beautiful drought resistant, low water landscape and a fire safe home.

The defensible space concept is simple: that trees should be limbed up, spaced out, and kept further from your house; shrubs can be closer, but should be kept low and spaced; bedding plants and lawns may be nearest the house.  The use of "hardscaping" like retaining walls, pathways, and clean space near the home will beautify your property and add the finishing touch on a well planned defensible space.

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Early Season Wind Event to Impact Marin Hills Friday Night

Friday_Night_Winds

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

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

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

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Wildfire Preparedness Week Day 2: Cut Your Grass!

Marin Grass Fire

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

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

Day 2: Cut Your Grass!

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

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

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

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

Day 1: Clean Your Roof and Rain Gutters!

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

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

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

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

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Changes to the 2018 Firewise USA Renewal Criteria

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

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

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

Screen-Shot-2018-04-03-at-6.10.55-PM

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

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

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Homestead Valley Hosts Successful Chipper Days

Panoramic-2018-03-29-reduced

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

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

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Goat Grazing Project Underway in Sleepy Hollow and Terra Linda

IMG_3665

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

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

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

Screen-Shot-2018-03-30-at-3.35.51-PM

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

Here’s what to do:

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Free Wildfire Preparedness Symposium for West Marin Communities This Sunday!

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

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

Topics will include:

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Firewise Workshop for Neighborhood Organizers: Friday, February 9

Marin Firewise Workshop February 9, 2018

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

You Can Help Organize Your Neighborhood!

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

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Marin Town Hall on Wildfire Preparedness: Saturday, February 10

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

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

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

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

Marin Wildfire Danger

Marin IJ Public Affairs Show Spotlights Wildfire Danger

Marin Independent Journal

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

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

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

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

What Can I Do to Prepare?

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

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Open Burning Ban Reinstated in Marin Due to Predicted Fire Weather

Burn Ban in Effect for Marin County

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

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

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

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Wildfire Evacuation Guide Updated

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

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

Learn about:

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Save the Date! February 9, 2018 Firewise Community Workshop

Firewise recognition empowers neighborhoods to prepare for and survive wildfires.

Friday, February 9, 2018 from 11am - 2 pm, FIRESafe MARIN will host a community workshop to help Marin neighborhoods organize to achieve Firewise USA recognition.  Learn about the benefits and challenges of Firewise recognition for your neighborhood, while preparing a plan to help your community surviive a wildfire.  We'll have representatives from every Marin fire department, land management agencies like MMWD and Open Space, PG&E, and others to help you understand Marin's wildfire risk and develop a plan to address the risk.

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

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

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Multiple wildfires are raging in Southern California as of December 6. A series of Santa Ana wind-driven wildfires have destroyed at least 180 structures, forced thousands to flee and smothered the region with smoke in what officials predicted would be a pitched battle for days.

Here’s what you need to know:

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FIRESafe MARIN Meeting Friday, December 8

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2017 AT 9:00AM

1600 LOS GAMOS DRIVE, SAN RAFAEL
THIRD FLOOR, OES OFFICES

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Alert Marin: Register TODAY

Your preparedness is not someone else's responsibility.  Register for Alert Marin today and prepare in advance for evacuation.

If a wildfire requires evacuation in Marin and time allows, emergency managers will use the "Alert Marin" system to send out notifications by telephone, cellular, VOIP, and text message.  If you live, work or go to school in Marin County, you may register your cell phone or VoIP (voice over internet protocol) phone to receive emergency alerts sent by call, text, email, or smartphone application from the County of Marin.

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Evacuation Planning in Marin

Law Enforcement Controls Intersection to Speed Up Evacuation

IMPORTANT!  TO RECEIVE EVACUATION NOTICES IN MARIN, YOU MUST REGISTER FOR ALERT MARIN!  WWW.ALERTMARIN.ORG

If you live in Marin, you must be prepared to evacuate from wildfire.  Although Marin's hillside neighborhoods and "Wildland Urban Interface" (WUI) areas are most at risk, the recent fires in Santa Rosa, Sonoma, and Napa show what we've always understood - under extreme conditions and winds, all communities are potentially at risk.  Evacuation planning and disaster preparedness are vital to your family's safety - during large scale and fast moving disasters, you can't count on first-responders arriving to help you in 5 minutes or less like you can on a normal day.

While Marin fire and law enforcement agencies have developed detailed plans and protocols to respond to large wildfires and evacuate residents under variable conditions, it is imperative that residents understand the risk and prepare in advance to evacuate.  The Marin County Fire Chiefs Association and FIRESafe MARIN adopted the Ready-Set-Go wildfire preparedness concept years ago to help educated citizens on their responsibilities and options before, during, and after a wildfire.

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Santa Rosa, Sonoma, Napa: Our Perspective

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FIRESafe MARIN was formed in 1991, shortly after the Tunnel Fire in the Oakland and Berkeley hills burned 3,400 structures and killed 25 people.  Our newfound mission was simple - to bring people, agencies, and landowners together to address Marin's wildfire risk collaboratively.  Along with San Mateo County's newly formed "Fire Safe Council," this idea was a resounding success, and the FIRESafe MARIN, FIRE SAFE San Mateo model was soon adopted nationwide as Fire Safe Councils took our lead and fomed in all 50 states.  We are now in our 26th year.

It's All in the History

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Marin's CWPP: A Plan to Address Marin's Wildfire Hazard

Marin CWPP Cover

Marin County Community WilDfire Protection Plan (CWPP)

In 2015, CAL FIRE awarded FIRESafe MARIN a $123,200 grant from the SRA Fire Prevention Fee Fund to update the 2005 Marin County Community Wildfire Protection Plan, and integrate it with the Marin County Fire Department Unit Strategic Fire Plan.  The plan was completed in 2016, and formally adopted by the Board of Supervisors in early 2017.

A science-based hazard, asset, risk assessment was performed using up-to-date, high resolution topography and fuels information combined with local fuel moisture and weather data. The assessment was focused on identifying areas of concern throughout the county and beginning to prioritize areas where wildfire threat is greatest.  Hazard mitigation efforts can then be focused to address specific issues in the areas of greatest concern (see Sections 4 and 5).

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FAQ: Do I need to clear-cut trees from my property to be "fire safe?"

Trees are ok around a home's defensible space if chosen and located wisely and properly maintained.

 Question:  I have lots of trees on my property.  Am I supposed to cut those down?  It can cost thousands of dollars per tree!   Help!

Answer:  Absolutely not!  Regarding defensible space, we specifically state that mature, native trees rarely need to be removed.  Have an arborist check each tree for health.  Remove all dead wood; remove lower limbs to raise the "skirt" of the trees to at least 6’ above the ground; remove “ladder” fuel such as brush, shrubs, and grass beneath the trees.  Thin the canopy and keep the trees healthy with irrigation appropriate to the species.

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A Fire Safe Home in 7 Days

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Please follow our NEW feature - How to Prepare Your Home and Family For Wildfire in 7-Days!  While wildfire preparedness is a year-round endeavor, you can substantially increase the safety of your family and home in one-week by following our step-by-step guide.

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Should I put a Sprinkler on My Roof (or stand there with a garden hose?)

Don't Be This Guy

Remember that Marin is under a Red Flag Warning from the National Weather Service until 11PM tonight! 


At FIRESafe MARIN, we are very happy to see many Marin neighborhoods becoming engaged about wildfire safety.  During a recent online discussion, one clever neighbor suggested installing "rain-bird" type sprinklers on a roof as a way to prevent embers from igniting a home.  Discussions and suggestions to improve fire safety among neighbors are extremely valuable, and will benefit us all in the long-run.  That said, this particular suggestion (turning on rain-bird sprinklers when a wildfire is burning nearby) is not advised, for a number of reasons.  

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FIRESafe MARIN Nears Completion on Several Vegetation Management Projects

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

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

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

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9 Marin Communities Achieve Firewise Recognition. Is Yours Next?

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

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

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

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

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Wildfires Raging in California.

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

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

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Don't Fly Your Drone Near Wildfires!

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

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

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Are You Registered With Alert Marin?

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

If a wildfire requires evacuation in Marin and time allows, emergency managers will use the "Alert Marin" system to send out notifications by telephone, cellular, VOIP, and text message.  If you live, work or go to school in Marin County and are 18 and over, you may register your cell phone or VoIP (voice over internet protocol) phone to receive emergency alerts sent by call, text, email, or smartphone application from the County of Marin.

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

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FREE Firewise Class - CANCELLED

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We we are very sorry to announce that this class has been CANCELLED.  FIRESafe MARIN and Mill valley fire department will work to reschedule the class in the future. Thank you for your understanding.

 

FREEE 1-Day On-Site Workshop Sponsored by Mill Valley Fire Department and FIRESafe MARIN

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

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

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Upcoming Chipper Days

FIRESafe-MARIN_chipper

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

West Marin

July 8 - 9, 2017 - West Marin/Nicasio

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Conservation Talk: Fire Ecology - Sat, June 24

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

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

Register Online!

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

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MMWD - A Day in the Life of a Watershed Ranger

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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2017 Mill Valley Evacuation Drill: Saturday, May 20


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

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

Pacheco Valle/Marin Valley Firewise Day 2017

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

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

Day 7: Help a Neighbor, Organize a Neighborhood

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

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

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

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

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

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