Mill Valley Fire Department and FIRESafe MARIN hosted an excellent class May 15, 2015, "Assessing Wildfire Hazards in the Home Ignition Zone," at the Mill Valley Community Center. NFPA Instructor Gary Marshall, the former deputy fire chief of Bend, Oregon, and an outspoken advocate of Firewise in the fire service community, presented an outstanding program designed to teach homeowners to take action to protect their homes. Exemplifying our mission, community members and fire service professionals worked together in the same room to learn the most up to date strategies for preparing communities for wildfire.
The NFPA Assessing Residential Wildfire Hazards course is a less technical course that provides a thorough overview of how homes ignite from wildfire, and an introduction to the home ignition zone concept and Firewise principles, and actions residents can take to harden homes from wildfire ignitions. This one-day training is a great introductory course for organization and agency staff who are not able to participate in the two-day course in addition to community stakeholders, residents and anyone interested in learning about wildfire hazards and the actions they can implement to reduce potential wildfire losses.
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 7: Help a Neighbor, Organize a Neighborhood
Now that you've followed our step-by-step guide to preparing your home and family for wildfire, why not organize your entire neighborhood? In order to be truly "fire safe," every home in your community needs to play its part in preparing, by creating defensible space and using fire-safe building materials and practices.
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 6: Go! Create and Evacuation Plan
Ready, Set, Go. If you've followed days 1-5 of our Wildfire Preparedness Week step-by-step planning guide, you've now taken steps to "Ready" your home for wildfire, and are "set" to evacuate when the time is right. Today we'll look at the last step in a process that we hope you'll never face - evacuate.
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 5: Now that You're Ready, Get Set!
Ready, Set, Go. If you've followed days 1-4 of our Wildfire Preparedness Week step-by-step planning guide, you've now taken steps to "Ready" your home for wildfire. By creating Defensible Space, and taking steps to harden your home and maintain fire resistant landscaping, firefighters have a fighting-chance to save your home when wildfire strikes. Today we'll look at the first stage of preparation to evacuate.
Plant selection in your garden and the space surrounding your home can play an important role in protecting your property, and your neighborhood, during a wildfire. FIRESafe MARIN pioneered the concept of a "fire safe" plant list in the early 1990s, partnering with the University of California to develop a list of fire resistant landscaping plants specific to Marin county, and northern California's mediterrannean climate. Remember that all of California's native plants are adapted to fire - some are resistant to fire and when well maintained require little water and slow the spread of fire. However, many California natives are among the most flammable plants on earth. Don't assume that because it's a "native" it will help protect your home from fire!
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!
Marin's prolonged drought brings an early fire season. Grasslands that are normally green in early May began "curing," or drying out, much earlier than normal. It's these grasses that make up the fuel for Marin's most frequent and fast moving wildfires. Dry grass is particularly susceptible to ignition - carelessly dropped cigarettes, illegal fireworks, mower blades, and hot car mufflers are frequent ignition sources. These fast moving grass fires damage and destroy homes every year in California, and Marin, often damaging or destroying homes in the first few minutes, before firefighters can take action.
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.