Wildfire Safety Blog and News from FIRESafe MARIN.

Sleepy Hollow Chipper Day: June 5, 2016

Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District, Ross Valley Fire Department, and FIRESafe MARIN will have a chipper station located at the end of Butterfield (by the entrance to San Domenico) Sunday, June 5, 2016.   Clean up your property to create defensible space and help prevent wildfires in Sleepy Hollow, then bring the vegetation on that day and we will chip it for you!  This service is available to Sleepy Hollow residents only.

Date: June 5, 2016
Time: 9AM-3PM
Location: At the end of Butterfield Road near the entrance to San Domenico School.

If you need assistance hauling your debris, please drop by the chipper station before 2pm (earlier if possible) and we will do our best to help coordinate pick-up and transportation - availability subject to demand.   For any questions about the chipping service, either on or before the 5th, please contact FIRESafe MARIN Coordinator Todd Lando at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Participate in a Marin Wildfire Preparedness Event this Saturday!

Saturday, May 7, 2016 is National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day!  Several Marin communities, in partnership with FIRESafe MARIN, are planning preparedness events.  

Commit a couple of hours, or the entire day, and watch as your actions positively contribute to reducing your community’s wildfire risk. Challenge your friends, your family, relatives, faith-based group or youth organization to develop a project and join others throughout the nation in making big changes. Your efforts will help raise wildfire awareness, promote collaboration and bring neighbors together to work on projects that can help protect homes, neighborhoods and entire communities from future wildfire risk or current post-fire impacts.

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FREE Firewise Workshops Added! May 14 & June 11

FIRESafe MARIN, with partners Mill Valley Fire Department and Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District, will offer FREE Firewise workshops May 14 and June 11, 2016 to all Marin residents.  

The full day courses, "Assessing Residential Wildfire Hazards," provide an understanding of Firewise concepts and techniques for homeowners, residents, real estate professionals, landscape architects, emergency professionals, urban and state foresters, developers, community planners, insurance professionals and others who will benefit from understanding how to prevent losses from wildfire.

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FREE Firewise Workshop: Saturday, June 11

FREE Firewise Workshop: Saturday, June 11

A free, one-day seminar providing an overview of how homes ignite from wildfire, Firewise® principles, and actions residents can take to protect their home.  This is a great introductory course for concerned homeowners, agencies, community leaders, professionals, and anyone interested in learning about wildfires and the actions they can take to reduce wildfire losses.  

This is a full day course, geared toward concerned homeowners living in areas prone to wildfires.  Taught by a recognized national authority on wildfire preparedness, and attended by homeowners, firefighters, elected officials, and anyone interested in taking the next step towards making their community "Firewise."

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Marin Awarded Two CAL FIRE Wildfire Prevention Grants

San Rafael – Marin County residents will benefit from two wildfire prevention grants awarded Monday.  As part of the State's SRA Fire Prevention Fund Grant Program, these grants will be used to reduce fuels and improve defensible space, evacuation routes, and preparedness in Marin's State Responsibility Areas (SRA).  The first grant will fund $98,533 to reduce fuels along roadway evacuation routes and fund neighborhood chipper days in SRA communities in Marin.  The second grant of $63,588 will fund a variety of fuel reduction and wildfire prepredness projects in the Rancho Santa Margarita community near Nicasio.  FIRESafe MARIN will manage the grants in cooperation with Marin County Fire Department, Nicasio Volunteer Fire Department, and other local fire and land management agencies.

2014 and 2015 were FIRESafe MARIN's most successful years ever, with more than $816,472 in grants awarded.  2016 has seen several new grant funded wildfire prevention projects in Marin, bringing the three year funding total to $1,078,593.  Our fuel reduction efforts in 2014 and 2015 spanned the entire County, from West Marin to Sausalito, involving thousands of volunteer hours and dozens of state, federal, and local public land management agencies, private homeowner's associations, businesses, PG&E, and every Marin fire agency.  A partial list of projects funded in 2014, 2015, and 2016 is available online at

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Wildfire History: 1917-1941 Marin Wildfire Maps

Wildfire History: 1917-1941 Marin Wildfire Maps

An important piece of Marin history, and valuable data for Marin's fire and land managers, was recently rediscovered.  Several hand drawn maps showing wildfires, dates, and acreages between 1917 and 1941 were compiled by Edwin B. Gardner, Chief Warden of the Tamalpais Forest Fire District and the first Fire Chief of Marin County Fire Department.  The Fire Lookout tower atop Mt. Tamalpais was later dedicated and named for Chief Gardner.

Most of the maps have extremely detailed legends, noting dates and acreages, with color coding to denote the size of smaller fires.

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Twenty Years Ago, Today: Marin's "Vision Fire"

Twenty Years Ago, Today: Marin's "Vision Fire"

1995 Fire Destroys 45 Homes and Burns 12,000 Acres in West Marin

20 years ago today, Marin's most destructive wildfire in recent memory began on the slopes of Mt Vision near Inverness.  Less than four years after the devastating "Tunnel Fire" in the Oakland/Berkeley hills, Marin firefighters and residents saw their own homes and parks blackened by fire in the Wildland/Urban Interface (WUI).  Between October 3-16, 1995, the Vision Fire burned 12,354 acres near Mount Vision in the Point Reyes National Seashore, scorching the scenic and sparsely populated land between Tomales Bay and the Drakes Bay along the Pacific Ocean. Winds of up to 45 mph turned the smoldering remains of an illegal campfire on Mount Vision into a firestorm that consumed private property, State Parks, and federal land.   Within hours, 45 homes were destoryed in Inverness Park, and the fire forced the evacuation of 422 residents in the hills above Inverness, Olema and Point Reyes Station. There were no fatalities or major injuries.

The Vision Fire added further emphasis to FIRESafe MARIN, formed only three years earlier in the aftermath of the Tunnel Fire in the Oakland/Berkeley hills.  With new evidence in hand that the concept of Defensible Space had actually saved homes in Inverness, and invigorated Marin communities now truly understanding that such an event could happen in their own backyard, FIRESafe MARIN and local fire departments and land agencies began a 20 year program of fuel reduction, education, and community collaboration.

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Tamalpais Fire Crew Shares Wisdom for Protecting Homes From Wildfire

Tamalpais Fire Crew Shares Wisdom for Protecting Homes From Wildfire

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Top 10 Ways to Protect Your Property from Wildfire

Top 10 Ways to Protect Your Property from Wildfire

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

(In no particular order) 

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