FIRESafe MARIN News

Wildfire Safety Blog and News from FIRESafe MARIN.

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FIRESafe MARIN Evacuation Route Clearance Work is underway in Fairfax, Larkspur, Corte Madera

Roadside Vegetation can impact evacuation routes during wildfires
Project work is underway in Corte Madera, Larkspur, Fairfax, and San Anselmo - February through April 2020. 

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. This is one-time funding, with no funds available for maintenance. This grant will allow FIRESafe MARIN to make a "first-pass" at roadside maintenance in seven neighborhoods with critical wildfire evacuation hazards. Please support Measure C on the March 3 ballot if you want to see this type of work in ALL at-risk neighborhoods, and the long term maintenance that's required.

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 2016 Marin Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP - www.firesafemarin.org/cwpp).

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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!

manor_hill_firewise

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

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