Throughout the year, Tam Valley Firewise anticipates there will be new information regarding fire safety and emergency planning, including evacuation planning and vegetation management.
If you want to receive periodic, updated information on these topics from Tam Valley Firewise, please send your contact information (name, email address, street address and, optionally, phone number) to TamValleyFirewise@Gmail.com. You can also periodically refer to the website for Southern Marin Fire Protection District - SMFD ( https://smfd.org/ ) and for FIRESafe MARIN (https://firesafemarin.org/ ) for updated fire safety-related information. The following brief articles provide currently available information regarding suggested activities.
Be prepared: Ready, Set, Go
- Make sure you are ready in case you need to evacuate.
- Check on your “Go Bags” (one for each resident) – inventory and update the contents and have it ready at a convenient location.
- If appropriate, check on the readiness for any neighbors who might need assistance during an evacuation.
- If not yet done, signup for Alert Marin ( http://www.alertmarin.org/ ) and Nixle (https://www.nixle.com/ )
Late summer cleanup
As the weather gets even warmer and drier and the draught intensifies, with the increased potential of wildland fires, vegetation management gets even more important. Please consider the following actions when managing your property:
1. Keep grasses appropriately cut; remove weeds.
- In general, cut lawns to about 3-to-4 inches, not too low to avoid drought stress.
- Do the cutting during mornings on cooler days to minimize the risk of starting a fire.
- Weed removal reduces competition for water and nutrients needed for your plants.
2. Cleanup debris (dead leaves, branches, etc.) in Zone-0 (zero-to-five feet from structures).
- Focus on the first 5 feet around structures and then continue out from there.
- Remove dead, diseased and damaged branches on shrubs and trees.
- Remove lower limbs on trees (up to 6 feet or one-third height, whichever is less).
3. Consider clean-up of woody vegetation and participate in chipper events.
- Determine if removal of larger branches, etc. makes sense; if so, schedule this at the time of a chipper event (see “ http://chipperday.com/marin “).
- If you and your neighbors have a lot of work planned, schedule a neighborhood chipping event (at least 3 properties needed). Go to the SMFD web site (https://smfd.org/chipper-program) and call 1-415-730-9048 (Jesse Figoni at SMFD) to make the necessary arrangements before you start any work.
4. Work with your neighbors
- Organize projects to cleanup common/open-space areas.
- Utilize all the green carts – share usage of all your green carts on a rotating, periodic schedule.
Keep informed regarding SMFD activities
Sign up for the SMFD newsletter through the notice on the website’s Home page (https://smfd.org/ ). You’ll be kept informed of projects planned within the District which are funded by SMFD’s Measure U, funding provided by the Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority – MWPA (March 2020 Measure C), and various grants.
Review important and informative information, including videos:
Wildfire safety and preparation: from FIRESafe MARIN
There is a lot of information available online. One of the best sources is the FIRESafe MARIN (FSM) website (https://www.firesafemarin.org/) and the related YouTube video channel (https://www.youtube.com/c/FIRESafeMARIN/videos).
It’s worthwhile to look through the FSM website (recently updated and reorganized) to at least become familiar with the available topics and information categories, including a schedule of topics for upcoming events. Likewise, the FSM channel on YouTube has a lot of information - almost seventy videos – many of which take just a few minutes to review. The following are a few recommended videos or video segments:
- Assembling a Go Kit (about 8 mins):
- Personal Preparedness Checklist (under 7 mins): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOjHP1NSR1Q
- Fire Smart Landscaping (under 7 min.): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUI6hUY9Nq8
- Fire-Smart Landscaping in a Drought (under 5 mins):
- Reducing Risk to Homes (under 8 min): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VsGgtiU2rE
- Zone Zero, Protecting Your Home (about 8 mins):
- Defensible Space Myths: (about 20 mins): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4JpOdS9ffI
- To better understand the benefits of an ember-resistant Zone Zero (first five feet around your structure), one of the most informative is a video showing why some houses were destroyed and other houses were not as part of a follow-up analysis of the Sept. 27, 2020 Glass Fire in Santa Rosa.
- FIRESafe MARIN Workshop for Southern Marin (under 12 mins – start at the 4:40 mark):
Yard, landscape, and plant information: from Marin Master Gardeners
The Marin Master Gardener organization offers valuable information about landscaping and plants, including plant selection, problem diagnosis and maintenance – see the website (http://MarinMG.org ). As with FIRESafe MARIN, there is a YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/c/UCMarinMasterGardeners/featured ) with many helpful videos on gardening-related topics (see the Video ‘tab’) plus other tips. Collaboratively working with FIRESafe MARIN and sharing information, there is a focus on Fire-Smart gardening and information about managing a landscape during a drought.