Wildfire Safety Blog and News from FIRESafe MARIN.

Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority Update

MWPA lgo

The Marin Wildfire Protection Agency Authority (MWPA) was created with the passage of Proposition C on March 3, 2020.  The Agency MWPA is a Joint Powers Authority composed of 17 taxing authorities that represent all of  Marin with the exception of Belvedere and Tiburon.  The MWPA was formed to develop and implement a comprehensive wildfire prevention, education,  and emergency preparedness plan throughout most of Marin County. Key elements of this program include: fuel reduction; improved wildfire detection, warnings and evacuation routes; low income grants; public education; defensible space evaluations; and local wildfire mitigation.

The MWPA organizational structure includes three tiers.  The Board of Directors is composed of one elected official from each of the 17 Agencies, the Operations Committee is made up of a combination of fire officials and town managers from the Agencies and the Technical Advisory Committee has Agency representation plus a variety of stakeholders such as FIRESafe MARIN, environmental organizations, Marin County Open Space District, Marin Municipal Water District and others.  An important advisory group is the Ecologically Sound Practices Partnership which is a collaboration between the fire authorities and climate and environmental organizations to mitigate the risk of wildfires wisely. The coalition works as advisors to the fire professionals, defining best environmental practices to guide the implementation of the wildfire prevention plans and offering expertise and recommendations on specific projects.

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FIRESafe MARIN Launches New Chipper Program for 2020

The Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority (MWPA) approved FIRESafe MARIN's (FSM) request for $500,000 to conduct a curbside pickup chipping program for residents of Marin County.  Our proposal stated that we would provide one pick up service for each Firewise Site and provide two additional days of service to each of the 17 agencies that constitute the MWPA.  The intent of the additional service is to more equitably distribute the program throughout the county and to allow the participating agencies to determine areas of need within their jurisdiction.

There are approximately 20,000 residences within Marin's 70 Firewise communities.   Based on FSM's past experience managing chipper programs, we estimate that approximately 10% of homes in a given community will participate in a curbside chipping program.   One contracted chipping crew is able to pick up, chip and dispose of qualified vegetation from approximately 30 homes per day.   Our budget allows us to provide one time curb service to approximately 2000 residences (10% of Firewise Sites) utilizing two contracted crews making 30 pickups each per day.  In addition, our budget enables us to provide two crew days – each making 30 stops – to each of the 17 MWPA member agencies.   Assuming a 10% participation rate, this allows us to service 500-600 non-Firewise homes in each of the 17 agencies.

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Wildfire Preparedness Webinars begin TONIGHT (May 4, 2020)

You are invited to join FIRESafe MARIN for our first Wildfire Preparedness Webinar tonight (May 4, 2020) at 6pm!  

An extension of our popular "Living With Fire" community education seminars, we're launching a regular series of 30-60 minute online webinars to help Marin residents and homeowners prepare for wildfire.

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Wildfire Preparedness Week Day 3: Focus on "Zone Zero"

A simple, 7 day guide to improving your home and family's wildfire preparedness with easy, inexpensive tips.

Day 3: Clear Combustibles Within 5' of Your Home

The area nearest your house, from 0' to 5', including the surfaces of the structure itself, is the most vulnerable area.  We call this "ZONE ZERO," because it's ground-zero when it comes to protecting your home from embers. It's the area closest to your house, including plants, decks, outdoor furniture, and the outside walls and coverings.  This area is most vulnerable and should be more aggressively maintained for fire resistance. There should be ZERO combustibles in this zone! 

  • Remove combustible outdoor furniture.  Replace with metal or non-combustible varieties.
  • Replace jute or natural fiber doormats with heavy rubber or metal grates.
  • Remove or relocate all combustible materials including garbage and recycling containers, lumber, trash, and patio accessories.
  • Clean all fallen leaves and needles.
  • No vegetation or plantings are recommended within 5’ of any structure.
  • Remove tree limbs that extend into this zone.  Fire-prone tree varieties should be removed if they extend into this zone.
  • Do not store firewood, lumber, or combustibles here, even (especially) under decks or overhangs.  Move stored combustibles inside or at least 30’ from any structure.
  • Use only inorganic, non-combustible mulches such as stone or gravel.
  • Hardscaping is strongly recommended around the base of structures.
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Wildfire Preparedness Week Day 2: Cut Your Grass!

Wildfire Preparedness Week Day 2: Cut Your Grass!

It's Wildfire Preparedness Week.  Follow our daily updates for an easy, step by step guide to protecting your home!

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 2: Cut Your Grass!

Marin's grasslands provide the fuel for our most frequent and fast moving wildfires.  Dry grass is particularly susceptible to ignition -  carelessly dropped cigarettes, illegal fireworks, mower blades, and hot car mufflers frequently ignite grass fires.  These fast-moving fires damage and destroy homes every year in California and Marin, often in the first few minutes of a wildfire before firefighters arrive.

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Wildfire Preparedness Week, Day 1: Clean Your Roof and Rain Gutters

This is Wildfire Preparedness Week.  Follow our daily updates for an easy, step by step guide to protecting your home!

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 1: Clean Your Roof and Rain Gutters!

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.

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FIRESafe MARIN to host "pop-up" Living With Fire programs May 4 & 6

FIRESafe MARIN will host two trial runs of an online "ZOOM" version of our popular Living With Fire program, Monday May 4 and Wednesday May 6.  These 45-60 minute presentations will cover specific topics, and moderators will be online to take your (typed) questions.

Due to COVID-19, we cancelled our April and May live presentations.  To fill the gap and reach a wider audience, we'll present shorter verions online, using Zoom, in a trial format.  We'll reach out to attendees and ask that they provide honest feedback on the presentation content and technology, to help us develop better online education programs for delivery in the future.

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3 Marin Firewise Sites Receive Wildfire Prep Day Grants

2020 Wildfire Community Preparedness Day project funding award winners

Thanks to the generous support from State Farm Insurance and the NFPA, 150 communities in the US received project funding awards to support activities aimed at reducing potential loss of life, property and natural resources to wildfire. 

Dominican-Black Canyon, Oak Manor Ridge, and Woodhaven Road Firewise sites each received $500 grants.  Congratulations to these highly motivated communities, and to Firewise USA leaders Jay Hubert, Mary Vidal, and Gina Nellesen!

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Wildfire Community Preparedness Day: Saturday, May 2

NFPA has created Prep Day to raise awareness of wildfire risk, to share information and knowledge, and to help residents make changes to improve the survival of their homes and neighborhoods.  

The COVID-19 health crisis may prevent you from carrying out your preparedness plans and group events. NFPA and State Farm encourage you to postpone meetings and events until it’s safe. NFPA continues to monitor the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other global and local health organizations and resources for developments that may inform future decisions. 

Read a message from NFPA and State Farm about Wildfire Community Preparedness Day and the coronavirus.

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Upcoming NFPA Wildfire Webinars: Wildfires and Insurance

NFPA webinars are presented by industry subject matter experts who take you inside today's codes and give you the latest industry and research developments. Learn about important technical changes in NFPA codes and standards, and stay up-to-date on fire protection, life safety, health care, electrical safety, wildfire, and fire safety research topics. 

Upcoming webinars
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