About the Program
One of the most important initiatives for the Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority (MWPA) is to expand and enhance defensible space home evaluations to ensure homes meet fire and building codes, as well as education to reduce the vulnerability of a home. 20% (approximately $4 Million Dollars) of the MWPA budget is allocated each year to local fire departments for home evaluations.
Local fire department home evaluation programs differ slightly, but in all cases, the goal is to assess risks around each property, recognize the wildfire dangers, and implement a fuel reduction and home hardening plan. The evaluation programs take an educational approach to working with homeowners.
The Novato Fire Department mitigation team offered appointments for free personalized assessments, recommendations for improvements, and information of available grant money (415-878-2622).
Central and West Marin Fire Departments including the Ross Valley, Corte Madera Larkspur, and all of West Marin, hire seasonal inspectors to conduct home evaluations. Thousands of evaluations are conducted between May and September. Areas are rotated each year with the goal of visiting every residence at least once every three years. Homeowners are provided with a detailed, online evaluation form that describes each area on the property that may be in need of attention. The evaluation form has links to the FIRESafe MARIN website for detailed information on how to make the improvements needed for defensible space and home hardening.
Southern Marin Fire Protection District & Mill Valley Fire offer a very detailed home assessment of residential properties that are in the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI). This program provides the homeowner with valuable information on how to achieve defensible space and to help reduce the threat that a wildfire might have on your home. For a free home assessment call (415)730-9048.
The following links provide guidance to fix some of the most common issues cited in home evaluations:
- Stop fire ladders
- Cut annual grasses and weeds
- Remove leaf litter
- Remove dead or dying trees
- Remove tree limbs within 10' of chimney
- Remove tree limbs overhanging structure
- Clear trees or limbs encroaching on roadway or driveway
- Clear shrubs encroaching on roadway or driveway
- Clear combustible vegetation or debris near roadway or driveway
- Remove or replace combustible mulch
- Relocate firewood at least 30’ away from structures
- Relocate recycling and garbage cans vulnerable to embers
- Install high-visibility address numbers to meet standards
- Install high-contrast and reflective address numbers to meet standards