Madrone Canyon NRG (Larkspur)

Madrone Canyon NRG was recognized as a Firewise USA site September 18, 2019.

Madrone Canyon is a neighborhood in the City of Larkspur, Marin County, California, located 10 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Madrone Canyon is a box canyon up against the East side of Mt. Tamalpais. The canyon was logged of first growth redwood trees in the 1850s to build San Francisco. The canyon was first developed in the early 1900s as second home sites for San Franciscans. Today there are 375 single family homes on various sized lots spread around the canyon floor near a creek and up four
side streets up the hillside to the North. The population of the canyon is 940 and the 2017 assessed value is $468,750,000. There are approximately 144 acres developed into lots, surrounded on three sides by public opens space. The primary ingress/egress is Madrone Avenue that empties on to Larkspur’s main downtown street, Magnolia Avenue. Cal Fire designates the Madrone Canyon is identified as a very high severity zone in the wildland urban interface (WUI). 

The canyon floor is bounded on the South by Larkspur Creek with a fire road on the southside and unmaintained Marin Open Space District lands to the South. Houses line the North side of the creek fronting on Madrone Avenue. The canyon floor vegetation is primarily redwood and bay trees mixed amongst residential properties. Four side streets travers the northern hillsides of the canyon and abut against mixed vegetation Open Space lands. As elevation increases vegetation changes from redwood and bay trees to grasses and oak trees.

Madrone Canyon NRG
Madrone Canyon NRG is a California non-profit corporation and a federal 501 (c) 3.In 2017, Madrone Canyon organized itself into five Neighborhood Response Groups (NRGs), later consolidated into one NRG. The purpose of the NRG is to educate residents about wildfire danger, fire risk mitigation and create a structure for neighborhood communication and self-help. The Madrone Canyon NRG is organized into 25 Clusters of 20 or fewer homes, each Cluster having two of more volunteer Block Captains. A formal structure is created around an incident command (IC) unit of interchangeable, rotating volunteers and radio operators. Block Captains conduct Cluster meetings at the grassroots level to work with and educate neighbors on fire risk mitigation and make them aware of the need to respond and be motivated to act in times of emergency.

Since 2017, the NRG has conducted Block Captain neighborhood response training to conduct outreach to neighbors and respond to simulated incidents via 2-way handheld GMRS radios. Each neighbor has been contacted by their Block Captains. The purpose of the NRG has been explained to each household and, were agreeable, personal information about occupants, children, pets, contact information and medical conditions has been gathered for a database maintain and updated by community volunteers. Block Captains are entrusted with Cluster Maps detailing resident information and the location of gas and water shutoff values. Each participating residence has an OK/HELP sign to post near their front door in drills and emergencies.

Twice annually, on clock change Sundays, a simulated emergency and evacuation drill is conducted by the Madrone Canyon NRG and the adjoining NRGs throughout the Cities of Larkspur and Corte Madera. These simulated drills are conducted in conjunction with Central Marin Fire (CMFA) and police. To maintain readiness, Madrone Canyon NRG Block Captains and IC volunteers conduct monthly radios checks according to establish protocols. Two members each from Madrone Canyon NRG leadership sit on the Central Marin NRG Advisory Committee and the Central Marin CERT Steering Committee. Madrone Canyon NRG is a California non-profit Corporation (CA# 265798), Fed EIN 83-4490994. The Madrone Canyon NRG Board holds regular Board meetings and Committee meetings. The 8-person volunteer Board has two committees: 1) Audit, Governance and Compliance, and 2) Communication and Liaison. The Audit Committee has two Board members who have active California CPA licenses.

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