County of Marin - News Releases - Pacheco Valle Fire Protection

For Immediate Release
August 30, 2018

Grant to Provide More Fire Safety for Pacheco Valle

Dead and dying trees to be removed in Novato neighborhood

San Rafael, CA – Starting next spring, dead and dying trees will be removed in the Pacheco Valle neighborhood in southern Novato as part of a grant-funded fire fuel reduction project.

A female park ranger, a female resident and a female firefighter pose and smile in a wooded area of Pacheco Valle.From left: Sarah Minnick, Vegetation and Fire Ecologist for Marin County Parks; Kay White, coordinator of the Pacheco Valle Firewise Committee; Lynn Osgood, Fire Inspector for Novato Fire Protection District.
Marin County Parks and the Novato Fire Protection District collaborated to apply for and secure a $75,000 grant from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, known commonly as CAL Fire. The funding will go toward hiring a contractor to create a shaded fuel break around homes and increase the chances of saving lives and property during a wildfire.

The project is scheduled to get underway in March 2019 and run through November 2021.

Pacheco Valle is a narrow valley off Alameda del Prado, just west of Highway 101. There are about 600 dwellings there with only one vehicular entry and exit point on the neighborhood’s eastern side. The valley is closed off on the other three sides by hills. Dead and dying trees have created a dense fire fuel load within defensible space zones. The project would create a two-mile shaded fuel break by cutting annual grasses and removing dead and downed trees up to 200 feet from structures.

In 2016, Pacheco Valle attained Firewise recognition for collaboration between residents and local fire protection agencies. Participating residents, parks officials and fire officials meet monthly to discuss fire prevention projects and goals for the neighborhood. Especially during the years-long drought, residents were active in removing fire-prone vegetation surrounding their homes.

“The devastating wildfires in October 2017 left communities frightened and highlighted the necessity for individual residents and collective neighborhoods to take concrete steps in the areas of wildfire prevention and preparedness,” Novato Fire Chief Bill Tyler said.

Sarah Minnick, Marin County Parks Vegetation and Fire Ecologist, added, “Fire science has shown that in addition to hardening your home with fire-resistant building materials, maintaining defensible space is one of the most important things a homeowner can do to protect property. Neighbors of our County preserves have worked hard to remove fire-prone plants from their yards and to follow FIRESafe Marin’s defensible space standards. At the same time, County agencies identified work within the preserve that could leverage and reinforce the efforts of homeowners.”

The grant-funded fire fuel reduction work will be conducted by a contractor on the Pacheco Valle Open Space Preserve under the supervision of Novato Fire and Marin County Parks. The agencies will continue coordinating with Pacheco Valle homeowners who are conducting defensible space work on their private properties.


James Chayka
Marin County Parks

Marin Civic Center
Suite 260
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-3639
Email: James Chayka