Wildfire Safety Blog and News from FIRESafe MARIN.

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Wildfire Preparedness Week Day 3: Expand Your Defensible Space


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


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!

  • This is the first issuance for the upcoming wind event
*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:
  • Confidence is moderate at this time due to the event still being 3 days out.
  • Strongest winds Friday night. Dry weather the next 7 days.
  • Hottest day will be Friday.

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!


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


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


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


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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