Sausalito, Calif., Survey: Residents Want More Wildfire Safeguards

Much of Sausalito is on tree-lined hills, and fire danger is a worry.

by Mark Prado, The Marin Independent Journal, Novato, Calif. / July 5, 2018

(TNS) - More can be done in Sausalito to protect residents against fire, according to a survey of residents.

The survey was taken in recent weeks with the start of fire season and in the wake of last year’s North Bay fires and more local conflagrations, including one that burned along Highway 101 on the Waldo Grade last October.

Much of Sausalito is on tree-lined hills, and fire danger is a worry.

“The survey was designed to assess the level of concern in our community,” Chris Tubbs, chief of the Southern Marin Fire Protection District, told the City Council last week as he presented the survey. “There is a high level concern about the threat among residents. They think we should be doing more.”

Many communities in Marin have implemented enforcement strategies to manage vegetation. The Sausalito survey said 67 percent would support such regulation, although specifics of an ordinance were not provided by the survey.

Another 90.5 percent of respondents would support city-funded “chipper days” to dispose of brush that has been cleared from residential properties to limit fire. The city and fire district do not have dedicated funding for a chipper days program, officials said.

Public emergency notifications were rated as the most important by respondents, followed by vegetation management, evacuation route education, adoption and enforcement of vegetation management regulations, and public education.

As a result of the survey, the city and the fire district will look for funding to pay for chipper days. The city will also look to see what ordinances might be enacted to promote fire safety. Additionally, the city and fire district will do more to reach out and educate the public.

Sausalito’s beauty can sometimes be in conflict with fire safety, said Mayor Joan Cox.

“There is a tension between picturesque landscaping and eliminating fire fuel,” Cox said. “How do we create landscaping vistas which are appealing and not dangerous?”

Noting the Waldo Grade fire and other fires, Councilman Joe Burns said the city and residents should be mindful of the fire danger the city faces.

“If feels like we are dodging bullets,” Burns said. “We have to use these opportunities to remember to talk to our community.”


©2018 The Marin Independent Journal (Novato, Calif.)

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