Prepare Your (Marin County) Home for the High Wild Fire Season – An Annual Exercise!

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Living in Marin and Sonoma Count, San Francisco North Bay, and for that matter, the San Francisco Bay Area as well as the entire state of California, we are constant on “High Fire Alert” during the dry summer seasons.

With the state budget cut, which deeply affected the state, county park as well as municipal fire department budgets, it is with even more urgency that homeowners heed to the advise and guidelines on how to prepare yours homes for the fire season during the next few months.

In 2008, San Francisco Chronicle published an article highlighing what builders in the Oakland Hills did while rebuilding homes after the 1991 Oakland Fire. The Oakland Fire “ultimately killed 25 people and injured 150 others. The 1,520 acres (6.2 km²) destroyed included 2,843 single-family dwellings and 437 apartment and condominium units. The economic loss has been estimated at $1.5 billion.”

Along with the article, S.F. Chronicle included a partial list of checklist developed by (of all the places) Travis County, Texas about what how to prepare for a fire:

I am following suit and quoting below:

Wildfire Preparedness Check List

The more “yes” answers you have, the more prepared you are in the event of a wildfire threat.

The House

  • Fire-resistant roof i.e. metal, tile, composition?
  • Non-flammable siding materials?
  • Home is located down-slope?
  • Wooden deck facing or overhanging level ground?
  • Large glass windows, facing level ground?
  • Deck, porch, vents or house screened to keep sparks out?
  • Chimney extending above the roofline?
  • Chimney spark arrester in place?
  • Roof and gutters clean of debris?

Around the House

  • A fire defensible space (D-space) zone of 30 – 100 ft?
  • Adequate clearance of weeds, tall grasses and brush?
  • Leaves raked?
  • Trees pruned 10 ft up from base of trunk?
  • Debris cleared from beneath trees and near structures?
  • Tree limbs pruned at least 10 ft from roof or within 15 ft laterally from chimney?
  • House location or address clearly marked (3 inch letters)?
  • Small amounts of mulch used near wooden structures?
  • Firewood and other burnable items stored at least 30 ft from the house?

Access

  • Easy access to home by emergency vehicles?
  • Road grade less than 15% (not steep)?
  • Road wide and accommodating to two-way traffic?
  • Road straight with wide turns?
  • Large areas for vehicles to turn around?
  • Short driveway from main road?
  • Home area level and easily plowed or raked for fire line?
  • Multiple roads into and out of developed area for safe and easy access and evacuation?

Water Supply

  • Pressurized hydrants available?
  • Non-pressurized or dry hydrants available?
  • Water sources such as ponds or streams accessible?
  • Power lines buried and not susceptible to fire?
  • Well pumps maintained with uninterrupted electricity?

Ten Quick and Easy Steps to Prepare for a Wildfire

1. Cut grass and weeds, rake leaves and pine needles and remove yard debris and branches.

2. Relocate woodpile and left over building materials at least 30′ from house.
NOTE: It is best to not locate the woodpile directly uphill or downhill of any structure.

3. Signs, address and access are well marked, and visible both night and day. Reflective numbering/lettering that is 3″ or larger is recommended.

4. Prune dead and low-hanging tree limbs 6 to 10 feet from the ground around house. Remove all dead vegetation in brush and shrubbery.

5. Store all gas, oil and other chemicals away from the house. This includes propane tanks on BBQ pits.

6. Keep roof and gutters free from leaves and needles.

7. Enclose spaces under porches, decks, foundations and overhangs, and roof/attic vent openings with 1/8″ metal screening.

8. Have garden hoses connected on all sides of your house.

9. Place tools (such as ladders, shovels, rakes and hoes) for easy access to fire fighters.

10. Check driveway for adequate clearance for emergency vehicles. (Both height and width).

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Sylvia Barry, Realtor, ePRO
Marin Realtor for Marin Luxury Real Estate 
Marin, San Francisco North Bay
Frank Howard Allen Realtors 
website: www.SylviaSellsMarin.com
Blog: www.AllAboutMarinHomes.com

MARIN, SONOMA, S.F. BAY AREA REAL ESTATE – Beveldere, Corte Madera, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Marinwood, Mill Valley, Novato, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Tiburon; Cotati, Penngrove, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa.   Starter Home to Luxury Property.  REO (Bank Owned), Short Sale, View Homes, Architectural Distinctive Homes. Investment, 1031 Exchange.

Leisure Stroll on Mt. Burdell, Marin Open Space, Novato, CA

A leisurely stroll on Mt. Burdell, Marin Open Space, on a very fine, early spring day.

Sunny, warm, clear, air fresh, quiet, except for birds chirpping, grasses are green; shining with dew,flowers are budding and tiny leaves peeking out. Water was flowing and Duke happily splashed in the stream.

We can see miles ahead all the way to the bay……

A picture perfect day!

This is from the trailhead in Partridge Knolls …. there are many trailheads for Mt. Burdell in San Marin area, Novato, CA.

Guideline for Mowing Grass on Marin County Open Space District

APTOPIX WILDFIRESHeading into the High Fire Season in Marin County, this seems to be a good time to reintroduce the guideline on how to mow the grass in Marin County, especially the properties that are next to Open Space. 

The guideline was established by the the Marin County Department of Parks and Open Space.

This letter is especially critical at this time of year when fire risk is increasing; especially since Marin county is agian, facing a very dry summer season.

The information below can be found on Marin County website Wildfire Safety Information as well.

Excerpt from Marin County Open Space District:

GUIDELINES FOR MOWING GRASS ON MARIN COUNTY OPEN SPACE DISTRICT LAND ADJACENT TO YOUR HOME

It is extremely important that your clearance work does not start a fire and that you follow the guidelines below:

Confirm that the property you want to mow is owned by the Marin County Open Space District, not your neighbor or another agency. Information on lot lines and property ownership is available at the County Assessor-Recorder’s Office (499-7215, or go to http://www.co.marin.ca.us/depts/AR/main/index.cfm) and the County Community Development Agency (499-6269, or go to http://www.co.marin.ca.us/depts/CD/main/index.cfm).

  • Mow only grass. If you wish to cut brush or trees on Open Space District lands, you will need a permit; please call the District field office at 415-507-2816.
  • Never mow under high fire hazard RED FLAG conditions; call 415-499-7191 for current conditions.
  • In the heat of summer, mow early in the morning or during the evening when it is cooler and less likely that you could start a fire. Use extra caution with power mowers or other spark-producing tools.
  • Keep a 5-pound “ABC” fire extinguisher AND a fully charged garden hose at the work site while mowing or other work is taking place.
  • Do not use metal mowing heads on power scythes (weed whips) as they can spark from contact with rocks.
  • Make sure spark arrestors are in place and functioning.
  • Do not lay power tools in dry grass where hot metals may ignite flammable vegetation.
  • Re-fuel tools away from vegetation — on paved surfaces or cleared areas. Store gasoline away from site.
  • If possible, have someone spot you (keep a close watch) while you are working to watch for problems.
  • Watch for hikers and other open space visitors; cease work until they are clear from the work area.

Information on the Open Space District is available on the internet at: http://www.marinopenspace.org.

For guidelines on fire protection, call your local fire agency or check the internet:

_________________________________________________________

Sylvia Barry, Realtor, ePRO
Marin Realtor for Marin Real Estate
Marin, San Francisco North Bay
Frankk Howard Allen Realtors
website: www.SylviaSellsMarin.com
Blog: www.AllAboutMarinHomes.com

 MARIN, SONOMA, S.F. BAY AREA REAL ESTATE – Beveldere, Corte Madera, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Marinwood, Mill Valley, Novato, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Tiburon; Cotati, Penngrove, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa. Starter Home to Luxury Property. REO (Bank Owned), Short Sale, View Homes, Architecural Distictive Homes. Investment, 1031 Exchange. Chinese Realtor.

A Casual Stroll along Mt. Burdell, Novato, in the Magnificant Marin County

Fabulous Mt. Burdell provides a gorgeous backdrop for City of Novato in the magnificant Marin County, San Francisco North Bay, CA. The pictures were taken in the summer, around the very desirable Partridge Knolls neighborhood, overlooking San Marin, showing the ‘golden’ state. During the raining season, the hills turns fresh and than jade, provides a refreshing look throughout the county. Mt. Burdell, being one of the ‘younger’ hills in Marin County, has oak trees dotted in various places, provides a lively and beautiful picture of the hills.

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Sylvia Barry, Realtor, ePRO
Marin Realtor for Marin Real Estate
Marin, San Francisco North Bay
Frankk Howard Allen Realtors
website: www.SylviaSellsMarin.com
Blog: www.AllAboutMarinHomes.com

 MARIN, SONOMA, S.F. BAY AREA REAL ESTATE – Beveldere, Corte Madera, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Marinwood, Mill Valley, Novato, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Tiburon; Cotati, Penngrove, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa. Starter Home to Luxury Property. REO (Bank Owned), Short Sale, View Homes, Architecural Distictive Homes. Investment, 1031 Exchange. Chinese Realtor.

Novato Marin Schools in Session, Duke is Happy at Dogbone Dog Park

Novato public schools are back in session, and Duke, our beloved Laborator / Pointer mix is very happy that he gets to go to Dogbone Meadows Dog Park to see his best friend, Hunter, again.  Since Dogbone Dog Park is in the opposite direction of my house in Partridge Knolls, San Marin Area, to my work, Frank Howard Allen Realtors, Duke only gets to go there after I drop my younger son off at the local school which is just a block away from the park.  This means Duke has not been there for quite sometime 😦  

The park is very popular, lots of dogs and their humen go there to hang out with their buddies.  The place can get overwhelming for Duke and I late afternoons after work.  I love going there in the mornings where things are calm, and there are only a few familiar dogs and very responsible dog owners.  We enjoy seeing each other and catching up.  And Duke!  He is in heaven!  You can not find a happier dog (o.k. maybe the other dogs at Dogbone Dog Park).

See the following for info about the very premier Dogbone Dog Park, Duke and his best friend, Hunter!  I still need to take some pictures later in the day when the sky is blue and bright.

—————————————————————————————————————–Dogbone Meadows Dog Park in Novato, Marin County, located en route to Stafford Lake and West Marin, dogs often bring their people when they are on the way to the beaches.  The dog park is right accross from Novato Chase luxury homes, is probably the best dog park in Marin County, or maybe even California.  Due to the great location and the natural surroundings, there are talks of starting the first community garden in Novato next to the dog park. 

Built by dog loving volunteers (or shall we say, slaves of dogs), the property is around 1 acre, with tracks for dogs and human alike, toys and exercise stations (the hoops, loops, bridges, jumps, tubs, etc) for dogs only.  The volunteers planted trees for shade, put down benches and , water fountains, , porchesThe backdrop is Open Space, part ofO’Hare Park, great hiking, horseback riding trails.

This is a morning with unusual heavy fog from West Marin, a beautiful background for the dog park. 

Duke (black with white spots, rescued from 2nd Chance Rescue) and Hunter (Golden, dapper with his red bandana – he has a whole collection of those) love to come here in the morning – Duke, after dropping his brother off at local high school, and Hunter, after dragging his mom for his daily 2 hour walk and play (can’t say Hunter does not have a GREAT life, even Duke is envious of him!) – Hunter will chase the tennis ball and Duke will run along Hunter.

Makes Happy Dogs and Happy people when their dogs are tired the rest of, the day!   

It’s a foggy morning, but I thought it’s interesting, so I snapped the pictures.  

 

Duke and Hunter waiting for Hunter’s mom to throw the ball.

Time to chase the ball!

Duke’s best friend, Hunter, whose only passion is chasing the tennis ball!

Sylvia Barry, Realtor, ePRO
Marin Realtor for Marin Luxury Real Estate 
Marin, San Francisco North Bay
Frankk Howard Allen Realtors
 
website: www.SylviaSellsMarin.com
Blog: www.AllAboutMarinHomes.com

SERVING MARIN, SONOMA, S.F. BAY AREA – FOR ALL YOUR REAL ESTATE NEEDS Beveldere, Corte Madera, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Marinwood, Mill Valley, Novato, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Tiburon; Cotati, Penngrove, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa.

Spring Hiking in Marin County

marin-hikingApril 2, Thursday, hike a moderate/easy 1A hike in Muir Woods, via Fern Creek and Camp Alice Eastwood. Meet at 9:30 at Miller and Locust in Mill Valley (at the bus stop). Back by 1.30. Share carpool costs. Rain cancels. Sponsored by the Marin Group Sierra Club.

April 3, Friday, the Marin Bushwackers Hiking Club presents a two-hour, “exhilarating and educational, off-the-beaten-track hike for in-shape hikers.”?  Meet at Tennessee Valley Trailhead gate at 5:30 p.m.?  For more specific directions and information, call John at (415) 331-0100.

April 4, Saturday, Two-hour  hike on moderate trails with md-hike wine and cheese sevrved overlooking the pacific, followed by optional dinner and socializing at the Mt. Home Inn. Meet at 4:30 p.m. in the parking area across from the Inn on Panoramic Highway in Mill Valley. Cost is $15. Sunset Hike and Dine Club. To reserve a spot, call (415) 331-0100.

The Fairfield Osborn Preserve offers Saturday hikes through May 16 so visitors may observe the diverse fauna and flora of the popular nature preserve on Sonoma Mountain operated by Sonoma State University. Tours are appropriate for families, friends and individuals. Visitors should be able to hike two to four miles over uneven ground. Sturdy shoes, long pants, drinking water and a snack are highly recommended. General admission is $3. Visitors 12 and younger are admitted free.

Hikes are held every Saturday at 10 a.m. There will be no hike on April 18. The Fairfield Osborn Preserve is located at 6543 Lichau Road in Penngrove. For more information or directions, call (707) 795-5069 or e-mail fairfield.osborn@sonoma.edu or visit online, www. sonoma.edu/org/preserve.

On Thursday, April 9, hike nine miles from Mill Valley towards Sausalito. Discover this 1A easy Bay path from East Blythdale Avenue in Mill Valley along the Bayside towards the Bay Model, guided by a docent . Meet at 9:30 a.m. in front of the Maria Maria restaurant at 651 East Blythedale Ave. in Mill Valley. Return by 1:30 p.m. Rain cancels. E.mail-rgwatson@pacbell .net. or call (415) 461-9255.

Sunday, April 12. Angel Island picnic and hike. An easy 2A hike with 360-degree views of all the bay, and to see results of the Angel Island fire. Hike to the top of Mt. Livermore and then have lunch on the beach. Bring liquids and a potluck dish for 6 to share. Meet at 9:45 a.m. at the Angel Island Ferry dock in Tiburon. $13.50 fare. Back by 4 p.m. Rain cancels. E-mail rgwatson@pacbell.net. or call (415) 461-9255.

Thursday, April 16. China Camp. Explore the Shoreline Trails of China Camp in San Rafael. An easy 1A hike. Meet at 9:30 at the Civic Center Post Office on San Pedro Road in San Rafael. Back by 1:30 p.m. Share carpool costs. Rain cancels. E.mail-rgwatson@ pacbell.net.

Thursday, April 23: Ocean view trail. A moderate/long 1A hike from Rock Springs to the Top of Cataract Falls with a view of the ocean and Stinson Beach. Carpools from Miller and Locust at the Mill Valley bus stop at 9:30 a.m. Back by 2:30 p.m. Rain cancels. E.mail rgwatson@pacbell. net or call (415) 461-9255.

Sunday, April 26. Lakes and waterfalls hike to Bass Lake/Alamere falls. A 2A moderate hike from Palomarin trailhead. Bring towels if desired for an optional dip in Bass Lake. Meet at Fairfax Parkade at 9:30 a.m. Rain cancels. E.mail rgwatson@pacbell.net or call (415) 461-9255.

Thursday, April 30, hike the Dipsea Trail and Muir Woods. A moderate 1A/B hike on the Dipsea trail and through Muir Woods. Meet at Miller and Locust in Mill Valley (at bus stop) at 9:30 a.m. Return by 1:30 p.m. Share carpool costs. Rain cancels. E.mail rgwatson@ pacbell.net or call (415) 461-9255.

May 3. Sunday. Drakes Estero. A moderately paced and a most charming 2B tour to the ocean of the beautiful Drake’s Estero area on Point Reyes. Carpool at 9:30 a.m. from Fairfax Parkade (opposite Fairfax Theater). Back by 5 p.m. Bring lunch and liquids. Share carpool costs. Rain cancels.

May 7. Thursday. Blackie’s Pasture. A very easy 1A from Blackie’s Pasture. Hike from the parking lot at Blackie’s Pasture towards Tiburon and back, stopping at a yummy bakery with a fabulous San Francisco view. Meet at 9:30 a.m. at Blackie’s Pasture on Tiburon Boulevard. Back by l p.m. Bring your taste buds.

Sylvia Barry, Realtor, ePRO
Marin Realtor for Marin Luxury Real Estate
Marin, San Francisco North Bay
Frank Howard Allen Realtors
website: www.SylviaSellsMarin.com
Blog: www.AllAboutMarinHomes.com

SERVING MARIN, SONOMA, S.F. BAY AREA – FOR ALL YOUR REAL ESTATE NEEDS Beveldere, Corte Madera, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Larkspur, Marinwood, Mill Valley, Novato, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Sausalito, Tiburon; Cotati, Penngrove, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa.