Wildfire Safety Blog and News from FIRESafe MARIN.

Wildfire Preparedness Week Day 5: Get Set!

Evacuation Preparedness

7 day guide to improving your home and family's wildfire preparedness with 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.

Remember: The 2017 North Bay firestorm was the most destructive wildfire in US historyl ess that 20 miles from Marin.  43 people perished in the fires, most of whom were residents attempting, too late, to evacuate.  In 1991, the second most destructive wildfire in US history killed 25 people in the Oakland/Berkeley Hills less than 10 miles from Marin!  

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Wildfire Preparedness Week Day 4: Choose the Right Plants

Fire Safe Plants and Landscaping

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

Day 4: Choose the Right Plants

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 mediterranean climate.  

Marin's Fire Safe Plant List Updated in 2017!

FIRESafe MARIN's "Fire Safe Plant List" was updated last year, the most significant update since it was originally produced in 1998!  We've consolidated the list, and made it searchable online.  Some plants once recommended as "fire-safe" were removed as invasive, and a few new species have been added to help beautify AND protect your home.  We've launched our new website and plant list, and continue to improve and add to the list of recommended plants.  Check back regularly at!

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Wildfire Preparedness Week Day 3: Expand Your Defensible Space


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

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!

Creating an area of defensible space does not mean you need a ring of bare dirt around your home.  It does not mean you need to remove all of the trees on your property.  It does, however require some planning and upkeep.  With proper planning, you can have both a beautiful drought resistant, low water landscape and a fire safe home.

The defensible space concept is simple: that trees should be limbed up, spaced out, and kept further from your house; shrubs can be closer, but should be kept low and spaced; bedding plants and lawns may be nearest the house.  The use of "hardscaping" like retaining walls, pathways, and clean space near the home will beautify your property and add the finishing touch on a well planned defensible space.

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Early Season Wind Event to Impact Marin Hills Friday Night


An early season offshore wind event will occur Friday Night.  Strong Winds are predicted Friday Night for North and East Bay Hills.  This is an unusual early season wind event with the potential to contribute to wildfires.  A Red Flag Warning has not been issued due to the relatively high moisture levels present in local vegetation, however precautions should be taken.  Follow FIRESafe MARIN's Wildfire Preparedness Weeks steps TODAY!

  • This is the first issuance for the upcoming wind event
*Impact 1 (Strong winds) : (see attached gust graphic)
  • Strongest winds arrive around 8 pm Friday night in the Napa Hills
  • Winds spread over the East Bay, Marin and Santa Cruz mountains Friday Night
  • Sustained winds 20-35 mph with frequent gusts in excess of 50 mph
  • Weakened trees, limbs and power lines may be compromised. 
*Impact 2 (Possible Wildfires):
  • Wind driven fires will be possible during period of peak winds.
  • Fuels are still fairly moist so fire will need strong winds to actively spread
  • Temperatures during the day Friday will be one of the hottest days so far this year.
  • Low night time humidity recovery is expected due to strong winds and good mixing
*Impact 3 (Beach Safety):
  • Warm temperatures Friday and Saturday may bring extra people to area beaches.
  • Cold ocean temps and constant ocean hazards such as rip currents and sneaker waves can be deadly.
 Current Watches/Warnings/Advisories:
  • A High Wind Watch has been posted for the North and East Bay Hills Friday Night.
  • Quick look at all hazards in the state:
  • Confidence is moderate at this time due to the event still being 3 days out.
  • Strongest winds Friday night. Dry weather the next 7 days.
  • Hottest day will be Friday.

The hills of the North and East Bay, especially above 1500 feet as well as the highest ridges of the Santa Cruz mountains later Friday night. 

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Wildfire Preparedness Week Day 2: Cut Your Grass!

Marin Grass Fire

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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Southern Marin Fire District to Host 3 "Ready Marin" Events

Southern Marin Fire Chief Chris Tubbs and Battalion Chief Kai Pasquale will discuss Lessons Learned during the recent Sonoma and Napa County Fires, including evacuation tips. 

What can we do to lessen the risks to our community from wildland fires?

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Changes to the 2018 Firewise USA Renewal Criteria

Last year, in collaboration with a small working group of state liaisons, NFPA’s wildfire division reviewed each component of the Firewise USA™ program’s new and renewal requirements. The application criteria had not been updated for more than fourteen years and a stakeholder review was long overdue to ensure the requirements reflected the science-based risk reduction actions needed throughout the home ignition zones.

Based on the group’s input and feedback, along with data analysis collected from previous years, several changes were made to the renewal criteria. Many of the components remain unchanged, the major update was to the risk reduction investment formula. The previous per capita calculation has been replaced with a residence based equivalent of $24.14 per dwelling unit.

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Cascade Canyon in Fairfax Recognized as Marin's Newest Firewise USA Site!


FIRESafe MARIN congratulates Cascade Canyon in Fairfax for achieving national recognition as a Firewise USA™ site!  It is with great pleasure that we welcome Cascade Canyon to the growing number of Firewise sites in Marin, joining with residents throughout the nation who are working to reduce their wildfire risks.

Cascade Canyon's effort to achieve Firewise recognition began before the North bay fires of October 2017, and demonstrates the effectiveness of community organizing to reduce wildfire hazards.  Their group is among Marin's most active and effective, and FIRESafe MARIN looks forward to a productive 2018 with numerous fire safety projects planned for this spring and summer in beautiful Cascade Canyon!

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Homestead Valley Hosts Successful Chipper Days


The Homestead Valley neighborhood held a succesful Chipper Day last week as part of a community effort to prevent wildfires.  Residents removed vegetation to help create defensible space for 27 homes on Madrone Park Circle in the unincorporated communitynear Mill Valley.

The chipper day is considered an investment as part of Homestead Valley's Firewise accreditation, the Homestead Valley Land Trust Firewise site, encompassing 990 homes and nearly 4,000 residents. FIRESafe MARIN will provide a $1,500 matching Firewise grant, while Southern Marin Fire Protection District supported the project with $2,500, and more than $3,000 was be contributed byt the neighborhood trust.  Residents paid more than $20,000 to cut the yard waste that was stacked in piles along the roadside. 

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