Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Bald Hill Firewise Community?
We are a group of neighbors who have formed a fire safety community with the help of FireSafe Marin to minimize the danger of wildfire in our area by:
1) identifying and reducing the fire hazards in our neighborhood,
2)helping each other in the event of an emergency evacuation, and
3) maintaining certification as a Firewise community to qualify for recognition, keep up to date with fire prevention information, help maintain or reduce the costs of our insurance, and increase our safety by being fire aware.
What is a Firewise® Community?
Firewise USA® is a national program that certifies communities that have managed vegetation and reduced fire hazards in their neighborhoods. In addition to national recognition, Firewise certification provides us with recognition from the Ross Valley Fire Department, Town of San Anselmo. and the Marin Wildfire prevention Authority. It indicates that we are an active, fire-safe community and it qualifies us for grants and other help. This certification can be a factor in persuading a fire department to defend our community in a wildfire or other emergency situation. Fire fighters will not even attempt to defend an area that does not have defensible space. In addition, being Firewise can provide certain fire insurance benefits and encourages insurance companies to underwrite in our area. Insurers are starting to drop policy holders in Northern California. The more participants we have the safer we will be.
What is the role of FIRESafe Marin (FSM)?
It is a nonprofit organization in Marin County that is dedicated to reducing wildland fire hazards and improving fire-safety awareness. It is run by the fire chiefs. The mission of FSM is to encourage fire safety preparedness, vegetation reduction projects, Firewise® community formation, and educational outreach for all communities in Marin. FSM organizes neighborhood events such as chipper days and offers advice to residents. It takes the lead on a number of other prevention activities.
More here: https://www.firesafemarin.org/about
What is the role of Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority (MWPA)?
MWPA is the new county wide fire prevention agency that uses Measure C funds that we pay for through our property taxes to reduce wildfire hazards in Marin. It includes 17 fire jurisdictions in the County. Its mission is to build fire adapted communities by funding vegetation management projects, public education programs, evacuation preparation and coordination, and local work projects in the Ross Valley and other jurisdictions.
More here: marinwildfire.org/about-us
What areas does the Bald Hill Firewise Community cover?
We cover nearly all of the northeast side of Bald Hill. A list of the individual roads we include in our area is on our homepage. Take a look at this interactive map. It shows all Marin Firewise sites but you can zoom in on San Anselmo to see the Bald Hill site: https://bit.ly/3wFxHtT
What are we asking our neighbors to do?
We are asking our neighbors to become fire aware, to create defensible space around their houses, and to participate in group activities to get to know each other face to face. We are here to educate ourselves and to take action to prepare for a wildfire emergency. As a part of helping each other, we would like to identify people with special needs who might require extra attention in the event of an evacuation.
How are dangerous conditions identified?
Conditions are identified by neighborhood walks with a fire expert, by fire aware homeowners and residents, and through a new program of defensible space inspectors who will visit homeowners to identify and explain particular conditions.
What if I don’t want to participate?
Of course you are free to decide for yourself but we all benefit if we join together.
If my property is considered to have hazardous conditions, how much time do I have to clear it?
There is no ticking clock, but the neighborhood would encourage you and/or help you to do it sooner rather than later. We know that these efforts take time. If the fire department gets involved the process does involve remediation time limits.
What if I decide not to do it?
It’s your property, but depending on the severity of the hazards, the fire department may require you to mitigate the hazards on your property.
What are the costs involved?
The costs are:
1) the cost of creating defensible space and hardening your home, and
2) the cost of maintaining your property in a fire-safe condition. In Firewise certified communities, such maintenance requirement means that each household must spend a minimum of $25 per home annually on wildfire risk reduction on your property. This is easily doable.
Why doesn’t the Town of San Anselmo clear the hazardous areas?
It does not have the budget or the manpower.
We live in an area where there are lots of trees and vegetation, so don’t we just have to live with the risk?
We can significantly reduce the risk if we remove dead vegetation, clean the ground and trim the lower trunks of trees, limit broom and other chaparral shrubs which are invasive, and cut back flammable plants to a safe distance from structures.
I am concerned about fire safety in this neighborhood. How can I get involved?
If you have any further questions or would like to join us, please contact us at email@example.com or your neighborhood block captain.