Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Wildland Fire Prevention efforts

Today I, along with Mayor Brandborg and Councilmembers Maggiore and Weinsoff, attended a Community Wildland Fire Prevention Conference held at the County Civic Center. The Conference gave a comprehensive overview of the efforts taking place across the County to prevent wildfires from causing massive destruction to property and endangering lives. Now that flood season is hopefully going to be behind us soon, the next potential disaster we must prepare ourselves for is wildfire. Not to mention the continuing threat of earthquakes that was highlighted by today's IJ article...

I've summarized the points of the conference that might be most pertinent to readers:
  • The Open Space District has been and continues to work on creating more fuel breaks, a very important mechanism for controlling fires.
  • Scotch and French broom plants cause many problems for the landscape, forcing out native species, creating dense undergrowth, and are a huge source of fuel for fires. The Open Space District and Fire agencies are working hard to control the spread of the broom.
  • Fires are affected by weather and topography, two elements we cannot change, but we can make headway when it comes to fuel for the fire and this involves continued maintenance of fire breaks and keeping undergrowth in check.
  • The defensible space around a home needs to be cleared so that fire crews would have greater opportunity to save structures.
  • Design of new homes and buildings needs to incorporate fire safe practices, and there is an effort underway to amend building codes to strenghten this criteria county-wide.
  • Fire Safe Marin is a benchmark non-profit that works to identify funding and projects, and promotes community awareness of fire prevention. See
  • The Assistant State Fire Marshall was present and commended the County as being a leader in this state in fire safe practices and prevention.
Being new to this County, I learned that great efforts are being made and model programs are already in place for fire prevention, and we need to continue with extensive public education in this area and support of continued fire prevention programs.

When it comes to potential disasters, we can never be too educated or too prepared.

Speaking of which, thank you to those of you who attended our Town of Fairfax Emergency Preparedness and Home Safety Fair on Saturday, March 25th. Unfortunately, the bad weather kept our attendance low - we had about 40 attendees - but we hope that some information did get out into the community about the importance of preparing yourself, your family and your home for potential disasters.