San Rafael, CA – In response to lessons learned from North Bay wildfires, Marin County is pursuing a variety of efforts to prepare for wildfire, as discussed by the Board of Supervisors at its March 26 meeting. One proposal is an enhanced partnership between Marin County Parks and the Marin County Fire Department.
Fire fighters reduce potential for damaging wildfires by cutting, chipping, removing, and burning hazardous vegetation using chainsaws, chippers, masticators and other specialized equipment.
The partnership would provide $2.32 million over two years to fund a crew of 14 wildland firefighters who are highly efficient at reducing fire hazards. The crew would reduce potential for damaging wildfires by cutting, chipping, removing, and burning hazardous vegetation using chainsaws, chippers, masticators and other specialized equipment.
“Expanding this partnership will allow us to accomplish more projects with multiple benefits,” said Max Korten, Director and General Manager of Marin County Parks. “Our goals are to reduce fuels and create resilient landscapes and neighborhoods. We’re doing more work than ever before, and this crew gives us increased capacity to support our neighbors and leverage their efforts.”
“Strong collaborative partnerships, like the one being proposed with our two agencies highlights the Counties commitment to wildland fire protection,” said Marin County Fire Chief Jason Weber. “The partnership is ideal, as it pairs land managers and environmental stewards with fire professionals, ensuring mutual benefit is reached.”
Strengthening partnerships is one of many ideas for improving wildfire readiness. In the wake of devastating wildfires in nearby Napa and Sonoma counties in 2017, the Marin County Board of Supervisors convened a subcommittee to learn from the event and draft recommendations for Marin. Co-chairs Supervisors Dennis Rodoni and Judy Arnold met several times with agency leaders from the fire profession, law enforcement, land management, and local municipal government sectors to identify gaps and opportunities for improvement. They focused on emergency notifications, evacuations, emergency response, fire safe home improvements, defensible space, and community coordination.
Public agencies and county residents are preparing for wildfire in new ways. Twenty-six new Firewise communities formed across Marin in 2018, bringing the total to 33. As groups and individuals, people are pursuing recommendations to reduce risk. Weber encourages residents to decrease structure ignitability by installing fire-resistant roofing, siding, vents, and dual-pane windows. He recommends defensible space around homes through responsible vegetation management practices and keep driveways and roads clear to ensure emergency vehicle access.
Residents are urged to register their contact information with Alert Marin notification system overseen by the Sheriff’s OES. More information about fire safety can be found on the Fire Safe Marin website and the Marin County Fire website. Learn about how to prepare an emergency kit at the Ready Marin website.
Weber and Korten said they plan to return to the Board in April with a formalized partnership agreement.