CAL FIRE Evacuation Route Grant

 2019-2021 Central MArin Evacaution Route Clearance Grant

camp fire evacuation route vegetation cars burnedProject 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.

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 (CWPP - www.firesafemarin.org/cwpp).

The project is a cooperative effort between FIRESafe MARIN and more than a dozen partners, including the Towns of Corte Madera, Ross, San Anselmo, and Fairfax, the City of Larkspur, County of Marin, along with Central Marin Fire Department, Kentfield Fire Protection District, Ross Valley Fire Department, Marin County Fire Department, and Marin County Parks.

Neighborhoods where work will occur include: Sarah Drive in Mill Valley, Christmas Tree Hill in Corte Madera, Madrone Canyon in Larkspur, Kent Woodlands in Kentfield, Bald Hill in Ross and San Anselmo, Deer Park, Cascade Canyon, and Manor Hill in Fairfax, as well as fire roads on Marin County Parks lands extending more than six miles from Mill Valley to Fairfax.  FIRESafe MARIN anticipates work to begin in late 2019, with completion by late spring 2021.

COMPLETED WORK

  • CORTE MADERA: CHRISTMAS TREE HILL (JULY 2019)
  • KENT WOODLANDS (AUGUST 2019)
  • FAIRFAX: MANOR HILL (FEBRUARY 2020
  • FAIRFAX: CASCADE CANYON (FEBRUARY 2020)
  • FAIRFAX : DEER PARK/FORREST AVE (February 2020)
  • Larkspur: Madrone Canyon, Baltimore Canyon, Piedmont, Marina Vista (March 2020)

IN PROGRESS

  • San Anselmo: Bald Hill
  • San Anselmo: Scenic/Yolansdale/Laurel

PLANNED

  • Corte Madera: Lower and Middle Summit Fire Roads (Summer 2020)
  • Ridgetop Fire Roads, Corte Madera to Fairfax (Fall 2020)

IMPORTANT!  The VEgetation Mangement work being conducted by this grant is work that property owners are LEGALLY REQUIRED TO Maintain, but have not.  The Fire Chief has authorized the removal of this vegetation under the fire code. Vegetation impacts will be minimal - only vegetation impinging on the roadway will be removed, and mature trees will NOT be removed except in very limited cases (and under accordance with Tree Removal ordinances).


Letter to Residents of San Anselmo: MaRCH 2020

Dear Property Owner,

In 2019, FIRESafe MARIN was awarded a grant by CAL FIRE to provide funding for the clearance of vegetation near roadways in 8 Ross Valley neighborhoods from Corte Madera to Fairfax. The goal of this program is to improve the safety of residents during wildfire evacuations, and to improve ingress and egress for fire engines responding to emergencies. In the months of March and April, FIRESafe MARIN, your neighborhood Firewise USA Committee, and the Town of San Anselmo will work with private contractors to begin this important work in the neighborhoods near Bald Hill and Yolansdale.

This work has been deemed an "essential service" by the Fire Chief and will be conducted, to benefit public safety, while the shelter-in-place order is in effect for COVID-19. We've moved up the start date for this work from Fall 2020 to Spring. Our intent is to complete the necessary work during a period of reduced traffic and before the start of fire-season. Crews and supervisors will observe appropriate social distancing and CAL OSHA Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) requirements.  Please observe these precautions in the event of communicating or interfacing with crews and supervisors.

Property owners are required to maintain the vegetation within 100 feet of structures on their property, along their driveways, and in the public right-of-way where their property fronts public roads. This grant funded project will help give property owners a "leg up" where they've deferred maintenance of vegetation near the roads. This is a one-time program, and we can't promise we'll be able to do this again in the future.

The work will include the following:

  • Cut back or remove vegetation and tree limbs that encroach into the roadway.
  • Remove low hanging tree limbs that extend over the roadway to create at least 14-16 feet of vertical clearance.
  • Remove dead vegetation when it is observed within the public right of way or within 10' of a road.
  • In limited cases, with the property owner's permission, crews may remove fire-hazardous or combustible vegetation located within 10-30 feet (horizontally) of a roadway. Fire-hazardous vegetation includes (but is not limited to) juniper, broom, bamboo, cypress, acacia, pride of madeira, and grasses (jubata/fountain/pampas).
  • Remove small tree limbs to 6-10 feet above ground on mature trees within the public right-of-way.
  • Work may occur on any public roadway, and in some cases along private roads or driveways with the property owner's permission.
  • Work will occur on weekdays between 8am and 4pm, and efforts will be made to minimize traffic disruptions. Thanks for your patience while this important project is underway!
  • Target roads include:
    • Oak Ave
    • S Oak Ave
    • Encina Pl
    • Chipman Pl
    • Melville Ave
    • Vine Ave
    • Echo Ct
    • Redwood Rd
    • Woodhaven Rd
    • Laurel Ave
    • Fernwood Dr
    • Scenic Ave
    • Floribel Ave
    • Canyon Rd
    • Ivy Ln
    • Humboldt Ave
    • Summit Rd
    • Francis Ave
    • Foothill Rd
    • Savannah Rd
    • White Way
    • other nearby roads may see work also depending on funding availability...
Important considerations:
  • This work has been authorized by the Fire Chief under the California Fire Code. 
  • Local contractors "The Tree Man" and "Small World Tree Service" will conduct the work.
  • An on-site representative (retired Fire Battalion Chief Brian McCarthy) will be available to answer questions and provide direction to crews.
  • PG&E is also conducting tree maintenance in many of the same areas.  Their work focuses on trees and limbs that threaten the high-voltage powerlines 30'-40' overhead. FIRESafe MARIN's work will focus on vegetation near the ground level, from 0' to 16'. 
  • Mature trees will not be removed, except in limited cases where a) the tree presents a fire-hazard or evacuation impediment, and/or b) the property owner requests the removal or grants permission, and/or c) the tree is eligible for removal under the Town's tree ordinance, and/or d) the Fire Department deems the tree a safety hazard.
  • Crews will focus first on vegetation that encroaches into the roadway.
  • Property owners are required to maintain their vegetation so that it does not encroach on the roadway, and are required to maintain vegetation within 10' of roadways and 100' of structures. If the crews do not remove this vegetation, the adjacent property owner is still responsible for its removal.
  • The California Fire Code, International Wildland Urban Interface Code and Public Resources Code requires that any person who owns, controls, or leases property located within a designated Wildland Urban Interface “WUI” Zone maintain at least 100 feet of defensible space around structures, at least 15 feet of vertical clearance over roadways, and at least 10 feet of horizontal clearance along roadsides and driveways.
  • Work will continue until funds are exhausted - we expect about 14-30 days of crew work beginning March 23.
  • These are one-time funds. This grant does not provide funding for long-term maintenance, and no promises can be made regarding specific vegetation removal. While this work will improve your neighborhood's safety, it's just a "drop in the bucket" of the work that must be completed in coming years to provide meaningful protection for your community.

California Fire Code Section Section 4908, Fire Hazard Reduction from Roadways. The Fire Code Official is authorized to cause areas within 10 feet (3048 cm) on each side of portions of highways, fire apparatus access roads (improved or unimproved), and driveways (improved or unimproved), which are improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular traffic to be cleared of flammable vegetation and other combustible growth. Corrective action, if necessary, shall be the same as the actions required in section 4907.2. The Fire Code Official is authorized to enter upon private property to carry out this work.

Additional information on the program, with diagrams and specifications for the clearance work is available online at http://firesafemarin.org/evac-grant . If you have any questions or if we can provide any additional information, please contact FIRESafe MARIN at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Letter to Residents of Fairfax: January 2020

Dear Property Owner,

Since 2015, California and the North Bay have experienced a dramatic increase in the number, frequency and intensity of catastrophic wildfires. Marin has a long history of devastating wildfires, including many in Fairfax and nearby communities. 

In 2019, FIRESafe MARIN was awarded a grant by CAL FIRE to provide funding for the clearance of vegetation near roadways in 8 Ross Valley neighborhoods from Corte Madera to Fairfax. The goal of this program is to improve the safety of residents during wildfire evacuations, and to improve ingress and egress for fire engines responding to emergencies. In the months of February and March, FIRESafe MARIN and the Town of Fairfax will work with private contractors to begin this important work.  

Property owners are required to maintain the vegetation within 100 feet of structures on their property, along their driveways, and in the public right-of-way where their property fronts public roads.  This grant funded project will help give property owners a "leg up" where they've deferred maintenance of vegetation near the roads. This is a one-time program, and we can't promise we'll be able to do this again in the future.

The work will include the following:

  • Cut back or remove vegetation and tree limbs that encroach into the roadway.
  • Remove low hanging tree limbs that extend over the roadway to create at least 14-16 feet of vertical clearance.
  • Remove dead vegetation when it is observed within the public right of way.
  • In limited cases, with the property owner's permission, crews may remove fire-hazardous or combustible vegetation located within 10-30 feet (horizontally) of a roadway. Fire-hazardous vegetation includes (but is not limited to) juniper, broom, bamboo, cypress, acacia, pride of madeira, and grasses (jubata/fountain/pampas).
  • Remove small tree limbs to 6-10 feet above ground on mature trees within the public right-of-way.
  • Work may occur on any public roadway, and in some cases along private roadways or driveways with the property owner's permission.
  • Work will occur on weekdays between 9am and 4pm, and efforts will be made to minimize traffic disruptions. Thanks for your patience while this important project is underway!
  • Target roads (other nearby roads may see work also depending on funding availablity):
    • Cascade Drive
    • Laurel Dr
    • Pine Dr
    • Oak Rd
    • Toyon Rd
    • Meernaa
    • Forrest Ave
    • Hillside Dr
    • Crest Rd
    • Tamalpais Rd
    • Scenic Rd
    • Mountain View Rd
Important considerations:
  • PG&E is also conducting tree maintenance in many of the same areas.  Their work focuses on trees and limbs that threaten the high-voltage powerlines 30'-40' overhead. FIRESafe MARIN's work will focus on vegetation near the ground level, from 0' to 16'. 
  • Mature trees will not be removed, except in limited cases where a) the tree presents a fire-hazard or evacuation impediment, b) the property owner requests the removal or grants permission, c) the tree is eligible for removal under the Town's tree ordinance, and/or d) the Fire Department deems the tree a safety hazard.
  • Crews will focus first on vegetation that encroaches into the roadway.
  • Property owners are required to maintain their vegetation so that it does not encroach on the roadway, and are required to maintain vegetation within 10' of roadways and 100' of structures. If the crews do not remove this vegetation, the adjacent property owner is still responsible for its removal.
  • The California Fire Code, International Wildland Urban Interface Code and Public Resources Code require that any person who owns, controls, or leases property located within a designated Wildland Urban Interface “WUI” Zone maintain at least 100 feet defensible space around structures, at least 14 feet of vertical clearance over roadways, and at least 10 feet of horizontal clearance along roadsides and driveways.
  • Work will continue until funds are exhausted -we expect about 30+ days of crew work.
  • These are one-time funds.  No funding is available for maintenance, and no promises can be made regarding specific vegetation removal. While this work will make measurably improve public safety, it's just a "drop in the bucket" of the work that must be completed in coming years to provide meaningful protection for your community.

Additional information on the program, with diagrams and specifications for the clearance work is available online at http://firesafemarin.org/evac-grant . If you have any questions or if we can provide any additional information, please contact FIRESafe MARIN at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Fire Code References

Corte Madera:

  • California Fire Code Section 4907.2 ~ International Wildland Urban Interface Code, and Town of Corte Madera Municipal Code all require that any person who owns, controls, or leases property located within a designated Wildland Urban Interface “WUI” Zone maintain 100-150 feet defensible space around structures, 14 feet of vertical clearance over roadways, and 10 feet of horizontal clearance along roadsides and driveways.
  • California Fire Code Section Section 4908 Fire Hazard Reduction from Roadways. The Fire Code Official is authorized to cause areas within 10 feet (3048 cm) on each side of portions of highways, fire apparatus access roads (improved or unimproved), and driveways (improved or unimproved), which are improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular traffic to be cleared of flammable vegetation and other combustible growth. Corrective action, if necessary, shall be the same as the actions required in section 4907.2. The Fire Code Official is authorized to enter upon private property to carry out this work.

Fairfax: 

  • California Fire Code Section 4907.3 ~ Fire Hazard Reduction From Roadways. The Chief is authorized to cause areas within 10 feet (3048 mm) on each side of portions of public streets and highways and private streets which are improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular traffic to be cleared of flammable vegetation and other combustible growth.

San Anselmo: 

  • California Fire Code Section Section 4908 Fire Hazard Reduction from Roadways. The Fire Code Official is authorized to cause areas within 10 feet (3048 cm) on each side of portions of highways, fire apparatus access roads (improved or unimproved), and driveways (improved or unimproved), which are improved, designed, or ordinarily used for vehicular traffic to be cleared of flammable vegetation and other combustible growth. Corrective action, if necessary, shall be the same as the actions required in section 4907.2. The Fire Code Official is authorized to enter upon private property to carry out this work.

  Example Images

The following are general examples of the type and structure of of vegetation that will be removed to improve evacuation routes and emergency vehicle access.  Hover over the image to see the proposed vegetation clearance.

roadside 6 before

 

roadside 6 before

 

roadside 6 before

 

roadside 6 before

 

roadside 6 before

 

roadside 6 before


Privacy Screening

Crews will be attempt to minimize the impact to privacy screening, however residents must be aware that the presence certain combustible screen plants may constitute a fire hazard and violation of codes and ordinances. 

Marin fire agencies encourage residents to choose fire-resistant privacy screen plants, and maintain them so that they do not intrude into the public right-of-way or impede emegency vehicle ingress and egress.

See www.firesafemarin.org/plants for information on fire-resistant privacy screens and hedges. 


  Work Calendar

We anticipate work to begin mid-June, 2019, and last for approximately 4-6 weeks in each of the 8 neighborhoods.


  Contractors

Work will be perfomed by private tree-services and contractors with licensed arborists on-site.


  FAQs

Are you removing heritage trees?

  • No!  This program will focus on trimming limbs, shrubs, and other vegetation that hangs out into the roadway.  No mature or heritage trees will be removed unless a safety hazard is identified by arborists and/or fire officials and removal is the only safe option. Pruning of limbs is authorized under the tree ordinance when the limb is impeding roadway access or creating a fire hazard.  

Are you removing trees and ornamental vegetation from private property without the owner's permission?

  • No! Vegetation removal will occur only in the public right-of-way.  If vegetation that threatens evacuation routes is observed outside of the right-of-way, clearly on private property, or will negatively impact privacy screening, crews will ask permission before removing

Can I refuse this work?

  • Yes.  But we're only cutting vegetation that's in violation of the Fire Code, so keep in mind that you're still required to remove it yourself, at your cost, under the Fire Code.

What gives you the authority to do this?

  • The work has been authorized by the Fire Chief under section 4907.3 of the Fire Code (Fairfax, San Anselmo, Ross).

'What is the purpose of this work?

  • This program will improve evacuation safety during a wildfire by reducing the amount of vegetation impeding roadways, and reducing the amount of heat released when vegetation near a roadside burns.

Will crews remove dead wood along the side of the road.

  • Yes.  If crews observe dead vegetation, downed limbs, or dead trees within reach of the roadway, they'll make every efffort to remove it.

I want then to remove my tree.  Can I request pick-up service?

  • Unfortunately, we can't offer scheduled service.  If our crews miss your property or you aren't home, we can't promise we'll be back.

But it looks awful!

  • We're sorry. It will grow back. Our crews will do their best to ensure no damage is done to trees, and to make cuts cosmetically attractive. The work we do today MUST be maointained, in perpetuity, to reduce fire hazards.

MapS

thumb 18 FP MRN 1041 overview
Bald Hill

thumb 18 FP MRN 1041 overview
Cascade Canyon

thumb 18 FP MRN 1041 overview
Fire Roads

thumb 18 FP MRN 1041 overview
Deer Park/Forrest

thumb 18 FP MRN 1041 overview
Kentfield

thumb 18 FP MRN 1041 overview
Madrone Canyon

thumb 18 FP MRN 1041 overview
Manor Hill

thumb 18 FP MRN 1041 overview
Christmas Tree Hill

thumb 18 FP MRN 1041 overview
Project Overview

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

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