By Mike Swezy, Watershed Resources Manager
In the face of one of California’s worst droughts in recorded history, water shortages dominate the headlines. However, with the warmer months coming and our green hills beginning to turn to gold, the threat of wildfire looms. Fire officials are bracing for the state’s worst ever wildfire season as the lack of rain has accelerated the onset of the season. Here in Marin, and throughout the state, fire officials are going to peak staffing levels at least a month earlier than normal in response to the dry conditions.
With these conditions in mind, observing Wildfire Preparedness Day this Saturday May 2, and Wildfire Awareness Week May 3 – 9, is even more important than usual. We invite you to take advantage of the many programs and services available to Marinites to better protect your homes from wildfire by visiting the FIRESafe MARIN website
FIRESafe MARIN is a non-profit representing fire agencies, public land managers, and community-based groups. They offer education events, funding for “chipper days” and other planning services.
Contact your local fire department for free advice on how to create “defensible space” around your home and other measures you can take to reduce the ignitability of your home. Work with your neighbors to learn how to be ready and support each other during a disaster. Lastly, learn how you can quickly and safely evacuate your home should wildfire strike.
Marin Municipal Water District is an active and responsible partner to communities and local government in protecting life, property, and natural lands from the ravages of a raging fire. Our initial 15-year fire flow program made a $77 million dollar investment over 15 years in upgrading our pipelines to make sure there is adequate and reliable water flow to fight fires in our neighborhoods.
The fire flow program was extended for another 19 years to invest additional funds in improving the fire-fighting capacity of our water system. Our draft Wildfire Prevention and Habitat Improvement Plan includes projects that reduce flammable vegetation on watershed lands bordering Marin’s communities. MMWD’s crews are ready 24/7 to maintain the flow of water and aid response efforts to natural disasters in neighborhoods and on Mt. Tam.
For more information on disaster preparedness visit the websites below.
- Ready Marin
- FIRESafe MARIN
- Ready, Set, Go
Marin has seen many destructive wildfires such as the Great Mill Valley Fire of 1929 and the Vision Fire in Inverness in 1995. Community safety depends on the strongest of partnerships that start at home, extends to your neighbors, and reaches across the entire community of Marin.
Please join us and take action.