Wildfire Safety Blog and News from FIRESafe MARIN.

Quick Tips: Takeaways from the Camp Fire in Butte County

Camp Fire Evacuation

2017 and 2018 have marked a year of lessons learned for communities and firefighters across California.  In 2017, less than 1 year ago, the Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa broke the record for homes destroyed by a single wildfire in modern US history.  One month later, the Thomas Fire in Southern California became the largest wildfire in California history.  Those records didn't last long.  The Camp Fire in Butte County started two days ago and is now the most destructive wildfire - burning nearly 7,000 12,000 19,000 structures (13,972 residences, 528 commercial and 4,293 other buildings) and destroying an entire city in just a few hours.  The 2018 Mendocino Complex fires shattered the Thomas fire's record after only 8 months, burning almost 3 times the area of what is now the second largest California fire.

While it's too early to know exactly what we'll learn from the Camp Fire, stories coming home from the front-lines reinforce a few important points about evacuations and protecting homes.

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Marin Leads California in Firewise USA Sites

Firewise USA Sign at the Entrance to a recognize Firewise site

Marin now leads California in the number of recognized Firewise USA Communities ("sites")

With 30 recognized communities as of December 31, 2018, Marin has more Firewise sites than any other county in California, and we are now the fastest growing county in the United States!  We added 21 new communities in 2018, and plan to more than double that next year with the help of active neighborhood leaders and energized residents.

The Firewise USA Program encourages local solutions for safety by involving homeowners in taking individual responsibility for preparing their homes from the risk of wildfire. The program provides resources to help homeowners learn how to adapt to living with wildfire while encouraging and empowering neighbors to work together to take action now to reduce their wildfire risk and prevent losses.  Join the growing network of more than 1,500 recognized Firewise USA communities taking action and ownership in preparing and protecting their homes against the threat of wildfire.   

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One Year Ago, Tonight: The North Bay Fires


One year ago, tonight, the most destructive wildfires in California history ignited in the North Bay, destroying nearly 10,000 structures and killing 43 citizens.  In the following 10 months, California saw the two largest wildfires ever recorded in the state, and thousands more homes burned.  Let's not forget the lessons learned during this unprecedented year, and let's work together to make sure it doesn't happen again.  Fire season is NOT over in Marin, and it's not too late to prepare.

  1. Evacuation Preparedness Guide
  2. Creating Defensible Space
  3. Hardening Your Home
  4. Marin's Firewise USA Program
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FAQs: "Has anyone told FIRESafe MARIN that it rained this week. Why are you issuing a Red Flag Warning?!"

We received several angry emails this week when the Red Flag Warning for predicting severe fire weather was issued.  Each message contained the same refrain - aren't you overreacting since it just rained last week? 

A Red Flag Warning is issued by the United States National Weather Service, not FIRESafe MARIN.  All Red Flag Warnings are related to predicted weather and fuel moistures, and weather and fuel conditions must meet specific criteria.  A small amount of rainfall during the summer and fall months usually not increase live or dead fuel moistures significantly.   Current knowledge of fuels and fire behavior tells us that live fuel moistures can still at a critical level, and dead fuels will dry to their pre-rainfall level within 10 hours during a low humidity wind event.  

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Webinar: Wildfires and Insurance - How to be financially prepared

Wednesday, October 10, 12:00-1:00 pm

Wildfires and insurance: learn how to be financially prepared

Presenters: Kenton Brine, Northwest Insurance Council, Janet Ruiz, Insurance Information Institute, Carole Walker, Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association

The 2018 Fire Prevention Week theme is "Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware. Fires can happen anywhere." As part of this year’s annual campaign, a panel of insurance experts will share important homeowners insurance information, along with details on what to expect while navigating the post-fire claim process during an October 10 webinar. The panel will provide helpful insights in addition to a live 15-minute question and answer session.  

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New Firewise Resources for Homeowners and Resident Leaders

This is Fire Prevention Week and the 2018 theme is: Look. Listen. Learn. Be Aware. Fire can happen anywhere. In conjunction with the campaign, the Firewise USA® program is launching new resources that are being added to our website. Coinciding with the theme, each of the three resources have a Look (Video), Listen (Webinar) and Learn (Online Learning Module) component.  We encourage you to share the video, promote the Online Learning Module educational tool, and participate in the associated webinar.

Your Home and Wildfire

Choices that can make a difference video (approx.. 4-minutes) was launched today, Monday, October 10 and can be accessed at:

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Overnight Wildfire in West Marin Forces Evacuations

CHP_copter_video_frame CHP Helicopter Video - click on video embedded in story, below.

A wildfire burning near Samuel P Taylor State Park in West Marin forced evacuations of hundreds of residents of Lagunitas, with evacuation warnings for residents of Lagunitas, Forest Knolls, and San Geronimo.  The "Irving Fire" (#IrvingFire) was reported to be 100 acres, burning near the Irving Creek drainage near the Mt Barnabe/Dickson Fire Lookout.  Evacuation orders and warnings remain in place (learn more about evacuation terminolgy and preparedness here).

Current Wildfire information is available form Marin County Fire Department via social media (Twitter, Facebook).  All San Geronimo Valley residents should ensure they are registered for Alert Marin (first), Nixle (second), and monitor the situation on social media, local radio, and TV throughout the day.  Please read FIRESafe MARIN's Evacuation Guide and take steps to prepare your home for wildfire TODAY!

Continue reading for additional information and resources.

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Alert Marin - Emergency Notification System

Alert Marin is NOT NIXLE!  Do not assume that you are registered for Alert Marin just because you receive "Nixle" notices from your local police department or school district!

Get alerted about emergencies and other important community news by signing up for Marin's ONLY Emergency Alert Program.  Alert Marin enables us to provide you with critical information quickly in a variety of situations, such as wildfires, severe weather, flooding, earthquakes, missing persons, and evacuations of buildings or neighborhoods.  

In Marin, the “Alert Marin” notification system is used by all fire and law enforcement agencies to make emergency and evacuation notifications.  You must register your phone(s) and address at will receive time-sensitive messages for any locations you specify, such as your home, mobile or business phones, email address, text messages and more. You pick where, you pick how.

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Fire in Marin Flyer Fire in Marin Flyer

Free 2-hour seminar for Marin residents

Marin resident and FIRESafe MARIN volunteer Katherine Randolph provides an excellent introductory seminar on wildfire safety - "Fire in Marin" - free to Marin residents.  FIRESafe MARIN endorses this curriculum as a basic introduction to wildfire history and safety concepts for homeowners.  Your local Fire Department will be in attendance.

Come learn why our Marin communities are at great risk for a catastrophic fire and what you can do about it. Learn how to create and implement attractive landscaping that complies with your Fire Department’s Defensible Space regulations, how to make your home more fire resistant and what you need to know to be ready to evacuate if needed.

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Equine Emergency Planning and Response - Marin County

Wildfire Horse Evacuation Wildfire Horse Evacuation

Preparing horses or other large animals for a wildfire evacuation requires an extra level of planning, preparedness, and practice. Building an evacuation kit (PDF, 8 MB) for each horse, and having a plan for them that’s been practiced, increases the potential your horse(s) will be able to leave when you do. If the wildfire’s proximity does not permit the time needed to load horses, it’s best to turn them loose and not leave them confined in a barn or pasture. Close the doors and gates so they can’t re-enter the area. 

Learn more at the FIRESafe MARIN Large Animal Evacuation page.

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FIRESafe MARIN   |   P.O. Box 2831  |   San Anselmo, CA 94979   |

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