San Rafael’s fire department is responsible for fire protection in the Forbes Firewise area. (A map of our area is available here.) In 2021, San Rafael has ramped up its fire prevention efforts substantially, thanks in part to the taxpayer funding enabled by the passage of Measure C and the coordination from the newly formed Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority.
In August 2020, San Rafael adopted its Wildfire Prevention and Protection Action Plan, which is available at this link: https://www.cityofsanrafael.org/wildfire-action-plan/. The Plan covers areas designated to be within the high-risk Wildfire Urban Interface (WUI) as well as residences located outside the WUI. Within the Forbes Firewise area, some residences on the northern side of Forbes Avenue are within the WUI, while those on the south side generally are not. To determine if your house is located in the WUI, you can enter your address on this website.
As one step to implement the measures outlined in its Plan, in February 2021, the City amended several of its ordinances regarding vegetation management. Below are some highlights:
The regulations contain other detailed requirements. The municipal code provisions are available here.
While the fire department can grant exemptions, violation of the regulations is a misdemeanor. If a resident fails to remove vegetation as required, the fire department may do so at the resident’s expense.
Thanks to MWPA funding, member agencies have hired defensible-space inspectors/evaluators who are fanning out across the county to perform individual evaluations to help residents identify ways to create defensible space around their homes. San Rafael’s inspectors have already started visiting areas of the City. There is no master schedule, but the general plan is to visit neighborhoods prior to their scheduled chipper weeks, so that residents can perform vegetation removal coordinated with the chipper schedule.