News

Wildland Fire Season Has Begun: Prepare Today!

In the wake of recent devastating fires, the Mill Valley Fire Department and Emergency Preparedness Commission urges you to act now to prepare for the upcoming fire season.

“It is hard to say how this fire season will shape up,” Fire Chief Tom Welch said at a recent Get Ready Mill Valley meeting. “If it is anything like the previous ones, we could be in for a doozy.”

The Mill Valley Fire Department takes fire prevention, preparedness, and vegetation management very seriously - all with the goal of creating a safe and resilient community.

Through the funding provided by the voter-approved Municipal Service Tax, we provide many services to help you get fire-season ready. These include the neighborhood chipper program, personalized hazard assessments, and clearing vegetation from evacuation routes near your home. We continually test our response capabilities, and just recently, we worked with the Mill Valley City Council to update the City’s building codes to ensure that new and remodeled homes are strengthened against the risk of fire.

Education also plays a key role in our efforts, and includes classes like “Get Ready” and “Fire in Marin,” and developing and providing outreach to enhance your understanding of your role in preparing for fire season.

What Can You Do to Prepare?

Fire Safety Home Inspections

From May 1 through July, 2018, Fire Department staff will conduct fire safety home inspections to assess your home’s defensible space. Firefighters will check that all trees are limbed up within 100’ of your home, grasses are cut short, and debris is cleared from your roof, gutters and eaves. We require that homeowners clear 10’ of vegetation along both sides of their driveway and on their street frontage. Firefighters will also check to make sure your chimney is screened to catch fireplace embers and that your address is visible from the street.

We will evaluate most homes in Mill Valley, with a focus on likely fire-prone areas, which includes homes built on hillsides and in forested areas.

Firewise Communities

Mill Valley’s Magee Avenue area has recently applied to the Firewise Communities Program, and you can too. The Firewise Communities Program empowers neighbors to work together in reducing their wildfire risk. Join the growing network of Firewise Communities taking action and ownership in preparing and protecting their homes against the threat of wildfire. Using a five-step process, communities develop an action plan that guides their residential risk reduction activities, while engaging and encouraging their neighbors to become active participants in building a safer place to live. 

In the past two years, the Mill Valley Fire Department has created five (5) Firewise Communities. They are:

  • Mill Valley Meadows Homeowner's Association
  • Shelter Ridge Homeowner's Association
  • Blithedale Highlands Owner's Association
  • Scott Valley Homeowner's Association
  • Scott Highland Neighborhood Association

Ready Mill Valley Neighborhood Meetings

In late March and through the month of April, the Mill Valley Fire Department and Emergency Preparedness Commission hosted five neighborhood meetings to discuss lessons learned during the recent Sonoma and Napa County Fires. Over a hundred community members attended the meetings and learned about evacuation, defensible space, disaster preparedness, and the importance of neighbors helping each other in the event of an emergency.

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The Mill Valley Fire Department is here to serve and help prepare your home in the event of a wildland fire, but we cannot do it alone. We rely on you to do your part.

For additional information click here.

If you have any questions or concerns about fire safety and your home, or to apply for the Firewise Communities Program, please contact the Mill Valley Fire Department at 415-389-4130.