"The safety of our communities and of the firefighters that protect them is our primary mission. We are dedicated to timely delivery of fire and life safety services to our communities. We work in partnership with you for the safety of our great communities."
The devastating wildfires of the October 2017 California Fire Siege have left communities frightened and have highlighted the necessity for individual residents and collective neighborhoods to take concrete steps in the areas of wildfire prevention and preparedness. What separated Marin on October 8th from our neighbors to the North may have been simply an ignition source. The subsequent community conversations surrounding wildfire preparedness have highlighted the need to update us all on what we can do moving forward.
In summary, wildfire poses the greatest risk to human life and property in Marin County’s densely populated Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), which holds an estimated 69,000 living units. Marin County is home to 23 communities listed on CAL FIRE’s Communities at Risk list (including Novato), with approximately 80% of the total land area in the county designated as having moderate to very high fire hazard severity ratings. The county has a long fire history with many large fires over the past decades, several of which have occurred in the WUI. To compound the issue, national fire suppression policies and practices and lack of regular effective large scale fuel reduction and maintenance programs have contributed to the continuous growth (and overgrowth) of vegetation resulting in dangerous fuel loads.
There are three priorities that every resident should know and take action on:
Emergency and evacuation notifications by phone will primarily come via reverse 911 and Alert Marin from the Office of Emergency Services. It is imperative that residents have an evacuation plan and sign up for emergency alert notifications at: https://www.marinsheriff.org/services/emergency-services/alert-marin
Neighborhoods can help saves lives and property from wildfire by becoming Firewise. The Firewise USA program empowers neighbors to work together in reducing risk. www.firewise.org
Lastly, in a conversation with an attorney that deals with policyholder claims, it was indicated that 74% of the Santa Rosa fire victims were under-insured on their home policies. The attorney recommended reviewing ones coverage with their agent and request Full Replacement Cost coverage, and to increase ones Loss of Use coverage, if available, and to buy as much coverage as one can afford.
Fire Chief Bill Tyler