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.