State fire monies will help clear fuels in San Geronimo Valley

04/22/2020

Amid the public health crisis, Marin County Fire Department continues to prepare for the fire season, and urges residents to do their share. Cal Fire last month awarded the county $12.5 million for two fuel reduction projects, including one encompassing 65 acres and 12 miles of non-county-maintained roads in the San Geronimo Valley. The effort will touch upon all the towns in the valley, targeting the roads where “we cannot get fire and emergency equipment in because residents have not maintained their portion of the emergency access on their piece of the roadside,” Christine Neill, a battalion chief, wrote to the Light this week. The second project the state funded will create a 4.5-mile fuel break between the unincorporated Tam Valley neighborhood and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which has seen two fires since 2004. The start date for both projects remains unclear, Ms. Neill said, but all the paperwork from the state should arrive within the month, freeing up the funds. Some of the money will go toward purchasing a new masticator that local fire crews can use to complete a portion of the work, but the majority of the work will be completed by independent contractors. Marin County Fire is also currently awaiting an infusion of funds from Measure C, the countywide tax approved last month that supports wildfire mitigation. Mark Brown, a deputy chief, spoke to the Light about the importance of preparation. “With the potential of a decreased workforce, or perhaps a workforce directed toward other things, vegetation management is even more important,” he said. “What we do now has a multiplier effect in the future. The more work we do now, the less work during a fire.”