County of Marin - News Releases - Lassen Fire

For Immediate Release
September 02, 2021

Lassen Fire Winds Down in northern San Rafael

Lucas Valley and Marinwood neighbors assisted by heeding evacuation warnings

San Rafael, CA – Fire crews on Thursday, September 2, were confronting a flareup in the aftermath of a 44-acre wildfire that burned the previous afternoon in open space areas between the unincorporated neighborhoods of Lucas Valley and Marinwood in northern San Rafael. No structures burned and there were no injuries.

A view from the ground of a firefighting airplane dropping retardant on a wildfire.A tanker from CAL FIRE drops retardant on the Lassen Fire on Wednesday, September 1, 2021.

The blaze, called the Lassen Fire, was at 90% containment at 11 a.m. Thursday when a flareup was reported by callers seeing more smoke from the hillside. The Marin County Fire Department personnel were already on hand to keep the sources of new smoke within the wildfire’s previously burned footprint. The incident remained at 90% containment into Thursday mid-afternoon.

The Lassen Fire’s cause remained under investigation, according to Marin County Fire Battalion Chief Bret McTigue. Full containment is not reached on a fire until all firefighting resources are released from the scene. Crews were expected to remain at the hilly location through Thursday and into Friday to reinforce lines and mop up any unburned fire fuels, he said.

Residents of Lucas Valley and Marinwood, just east of Highway 101 between the cities of San Rafael and Novato, cooperated well as firefighters, law enforcement officers, and California Highway Patrol personnel worked to help people reach safety Thursday afternoon. The Alert Marin and Nixle emergency notification systems were used successfully.

“We applaud the residents who heeded the evacuation warnings and orders right after we initiated them,” McTigue said. “It was not only for their sake of their own safety, but it allowed us to get our resources into position and actively engage the fire without hindrance.” 

The first emergency call was made at 2:11 p.m. Wednesday, September 1, from Mt. Lassen Drive in Lucas Valley. The first fire personnel to arrive saw the half-acre blaze behind homes on Mt. Lassen and Idylberry Road, just to the north of the Jeannette Prandi Children’s Center and Marin County Juvenile Hall. It was estimated that the wildfire had the potential to reach 50-100 acres without prompt air support.

Request for that support were made to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, called CAL FIRE, and neighborhood evacuation warnings were issued by the Marin County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services. Four CAL FIRE tankers, two helicopters, and one airborne traffic controller (air attack) plane were dispatched. For more than an hour, the tankers dropped retardant and the helicopters dropped water from nearby Gallinas Creek and the Marin County Civic Center Lagoon.

In all, 13 engine crews, two bulldozers, and one 14-person hand crew fought the fire the rest of Thursday afternoon. Evacuation orders were reduced to evacuation warnings as forward progress was slowed atop the ridge off the Queenstone Fire Road. The fire was declared 80% contained at about 5:30 p.m. as the air attack subsided and firefighting resources began to be released.

Marin County has experienced very little rain in 2021 and extreme drought conditions persist. As a precaution against wildfires, local fire agencies highly recommend the creation of defensible space around homes to improve chances of protecting property and lives during a wildfire. Responsible vegetation management and keeping driveways and roads clear of overgrown shrubs helps ensure access by first responders during a wildfire. They also recommend the installation of fire-resistant roofing, siding, vents, and dual-pane windows.

Residents are urged to register their contact information with Alert Marin notification system overseen by the Marin County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services. More information about fire safety can be found on the FIRESafe Marin website, the Marin County Fire website, the Marin Wildfire Protection Authority website, and CAL FIRE’s Ready for Wildfire website. Learn about how to prepare an emergency kit at the Ready Marin website.


Bret McTigue
Battalion Chief
Marin County Fire Department

33 Castle Rock Ave.
Woodacre, CA 94973
(415) 473-6717
Email: Bret McTigue
Marin County Fire website