Defensible Space

The Importance of Defensible Space

Marin hillsides, while beautiful, are an ideal environment for a devastating wildland fire.  With the onset of summer months comes the drying and curing of our lands.  As temperatures peak, humidity drops and the summer winds blow, the potential for wildland fires increase.  Despite the efforts of the fire services, many homes are lost each year due to wildland and wildland urban interface fires.  It is imperative that you prepare now to protect your home from such occurrences.

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The Importance of Roadway Clearance

Overgrown roadways and illegally parked cars may prevent firefighters from reaching your home, and can trap evacuating residents.Marin Fire Agencies operate specialized fire apparatus that helps us navigate the narrow streets and hills of our community. ·Even with our state-of-the-art fire engines, we depend on roadways clear of obstructions and overgrown vegetation to access your neighborhood safely and quickly during emergencies. ·Cooperation and involvement from homeowners in each hillside neighborhood is critical to prevent obstructions, like illegally parked cars and overgrown vegetation, that ·impede our access and your safe escape in the event of a wildfire. ·Your survival during a fast spreading wildfire may depend on vegetation clearance work finished months earlier.

Creating Defensible Space

Defensible space does NOT mean removing all vegetation from around your home. Defensible space means MODIFYING and MAINTAINING vegetation to reduce the intensity and speed of a wildfire when it reaches your home.

Defensible Space saves homes and lives!

no_1Create a "clean" zone with few or no combustibles within 30 feet of your home.

no_2Create a fuel-reduction zone from 30'-100' (or to your property line, if closer) to slow the spread of an approaching wildfire.

• Cut dry grass regularly within 100 feet of your home. Gas powered tools can start fires when fire danger is high, so work early in the morning on a cool, moist day, if possible. Rake and remove clippings.

• Use irrigated, fire-resistant plants where possible. Rock, stone, and other materials can be used to create an attractive, fire-safe landscape.

• Make decks fire safe by clearing vegetation and combustibles like lumber and firewood from underneath. Enclose underside with fire resistant building materials if possible.

• Apply 1/4 inch mesh screen to all roof and basement vent openings.

• Keep trees limbed up 10' from the ground or from the tops of plants below (or 1/3 the height of trees shorter than 30'), and cut back at least 10' from your chimney and roof. Remove all dead limbs.

• Clean all needles and leaves from the roof and rain gutters regularly during fire season.

• Maintain your landscaping by mowing, watering, weeding and removing dead needles and leaves.

• Maintain fire engine access to your home by clearing vegetation 10 from the sides of roads and driveways and 14' vertically.

• Make your address visible from the street in both directions, with 4" (minimum) reflective numbers on a contrasting background.

Your Fire Department

Marin residents are protected by a number of fire agencies.  

Municipal (town and city) Fire Departments, Fire Districts, County, State, and Federal Government all cooperate to provide seamless fire protection and emergency coordination, across jurisdictions and boundaries, to all residents and visitors in Marin.  

For a listing of contact numbers for individual commuities and fire agencies, click here...