Fire Safe San Mateo News

Wildfire Safety Blog and News from Fire Safe San Mateo.
Apr
25

FIRE SAFE San Mateo County Post-Fire Data & Assessment Workshop

Rx Burn Henry Cowell SP cropped

Wednesday, June 12, 2019 from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM (PDT)

Woodside Town Hall | 2955 Woodside Road | Woodside, CA 94062

The San Mateo Fire Safe Council invites you to join us June 12th, 2019 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm for a series of presentations by staff and consultants with Sonoma County Agriculture & Open Space, who will be sharing data and analysis performed on the Sonoma County Complex Fires of 2017. Key discussion topics include:

  • The Sonoma County Vegetation Mapping and LiDAR Program, which is similar to current ongoing countywide fine scale vegetation mapping efforts in San Mateo and Marin Counties.
  • NASA Funded research designed to update existing Sonoma vegetation data sets ad analyze the impact of the fires across the landscape, and discover and quantify relationships between fire damage and landscape charactaristics such as vegetation weather, land use, and land management patterns.
  • Overview and results from a survey to understand the use of Sonoma's Vegetation Mapping and Land Cover Map Products in fire response, post-fire recovery and resilience planning.

Join us for a networking lunch from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm (immediately following the workshop) provided by District 3 Supervisor Don Horsley.

SPACE WILL BE LIMITED!

For questions please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Apr
10

Bay Area Prescribed Fire Council's Spring Tour

Crazy about Prescribed Fire?

The Bay Area Prescribed Fire Council is hosting their first Spring Meeting and Tour Thursday May 2nd and Friday May 3rd in Morgan Hill/ Henry Coe State Park.

This will be a conveinging of prescribed fire practitioners throughout the Bay Area. Come learn from their experiences and share your own.

 

 Sign up at: 
Bay Area Prescribed Fire EventBrite Page

 

 Thursday speakers include:

-Cultural burning on Amah Mutsun land
-Air Quality with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District
-Ecological reasons to burn with Audubon Canyon Ranch and Sonoma Ecology Center
-Legislative update
-Deciding where the BARxFC is headed (Policy/ Research, training and communications)

Friday will be a tour of nearby Henry Coe State Park, their prescribed burning, and wildfire history with park employees and Cal Fire.

 

Bay Area Prescribed Fire EventBrite Page

Questions or comments to:
Jared Childress  |  Prescribed Fire Specialist  |  Fire Forward

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. |  Office: 707.938.4554, ext. 309  |   Mobile: 510.499.1496
Bouverie Preserve,  P. O. Box 1195, Glen Ellen, CA 95442

2019 Spring meeting flier

 

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Mar
29

Updates from Preparing for Wildfire Convening, March 13, 2019

Hosted by Climate Ready San Mateo County, the Preparing for Wildfire Convening on March 13, 2019 brought together over 100 community members to talk about the future of fire in San Mateo County. The event brought insighful speakers to relay lessons larned from Sonoma County, recent data on fire and current efforts in San Mateo County. Speakers were followed by a collaborative moment around community preparedness and fire risk for attendees. A big thanks to FIRE SAFE San Mateo County members who joined this event.

 

Check out Climate Ready SMC's website for more information and highlights from the event. 

ClimateReadySMC Raider C 8

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Feb
28

Upcoming Events

Check out a few upcoming events of interest to FIRE SAFE San Mateo County members! These events are not affiliated with FIRE SAFE San Mateo County, but are wonderful opportunity for members to learn and network throughout the region. 

Fire Weather Research Workshop
San Jose State University
April 26, 2019

This is the first annual fire weather research workshop aimed at providing new information to fire agencies, students, students , and other stake holders to the current state-of-knowledge of fire weather research in California. Read about more information on their website or sign up for the event on google forms.

CPUC Wildfire Technology Innovation Summit
Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Summit is designed to initiate an ongoing dialogue between the technology industry, academic researchers, utilities and government on the needs and tools to address wildfire challenges. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from leading experts, practitioners and entrepreneurs and to discuss innovative technologies, strategies and practical tools.
For more details see http://firetechsummit.cpuc.ca.gov

Wildland Urban Conference
March 26-28, 2019

The IAFC's Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) conference offers hands-on training and interactive sessions designed to address the challenges of wildland fire. If you're one of the many people responsible for protecting local forests or educating landowners and your community about the importance of land management—then this is the conference for you.
Learn more at https://www.iafc.org/events/wui
 

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Sep
06

CAL FIRE San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit Aug. 31 Live Fuel Moisture

 CZU August 31th LFM is posted at National Fuel Moisture Database and summarized below.  Results were all within average for this time of year. 

Location

Current(%)  

8/31/17

Previous (%)

8/10/17

Change

Hwy 35 & 92 - coyote brush

144

N/A

N/A

Pulgas - coyote brush

136

139

-3

Saratoga Summit - chamise

74

80

-6

new growth

79

87

-8

old growth

69

74

-5

Corralitos - manzanita

87

92

-5

new growth

87

93

-6

old growth

87

91

-4

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Aug
14

CAL FIRE San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit Aug. Live Fuel Moisture

CZU August 10th LFM is posted at National Fuel Moisture Database and summarized below.  The Highway 35 & 92 location could not be sample due to an extensive marine layer, which resulted in active precipitation.  Results were all within average for this time of year. 

Location

Current(%)  

8/10/17

Previous (%)

7/26/17

Change

Hwy 35 & 92 - coyote brush

N/A

150

N/A

Pulgas - coyote brush

139

146

-7

Saratoga Summit - chamise

80

82

-2

new growth

87

89

-2

old growth

74

75

-1

Corralitos - manzanita

92

92

0

new growth

93

93

0

old growth

91

91

0

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Jul
28

CAL FIRE San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit July Live Fuel Moisture

CZU July 26th LFM is posted at National Fuel Moisture Database and summarized below.  The Pulgas location was at average levels but all other locations were below average for this time of year. 

Location

Current(%)  

7/26/17

Previous (%)

7/5/17

Change

Hwy 35 & 92 - coyote brush

150

157

-7

Pulgas - coyote brush

146

151

-5

Saratoga Summit - chamise

82

90

-8

new growth

89

94

-5

old growth

75

85

-10

Corralitos - manzanita

92

108

-16

new growth

93

112

-19

old growth

91

104

-13

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Jul
26

Fire Safe Annual BBQ, Wed., 8/14, Please RSVP

FSSMC Annual Barbecue 8/14/2018

Join us for a BBQ on Wednesday, August 14th from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm at Jasper Ridge Preserve in Portola Valley.

You know it’s the middle of summer when you see your annual invite to the FIRE SAFE SMC BBQ at Jasper Ridge.  This is a great opportunity to get better acquainted with some of SMC’s movers and shakers in the fire management arena.  We have all worked hard this year with various large and small hazardous fuel management projects so come brag about your successes.   We will have our latest piece of Fire Safe equipment on site to show you.  The BBQ is the real deal and I promise you won’t leave hungry.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 Click on the link below to print off your official invitation.  Feel free to share it with those from your cities and departments who might have an interest in what we do.

11:00-12:00 Track Chipper demo - See a demonstration of a tracked chipper!
12:00-1:30 BBQ Lunch

 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Jasper Ridge

4001 Sand Hill Rd, Woodside, CA 94062

Map

 Flyer: Fire Safe BBQ.pdf

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Jul
25

CAL FIRE San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit June Live Fuel Moisture

CZU June LFM is posted at the National Fuel Moisture Database and summarized below.  A decline in fuel moisture was observed at all sampling locations, but levels are near average for this time of year.  The increase in old growth moisture at Corralitos was likely a sampling error.  This will be confirmed when the next sample is taken.

Location

Current(%)  

6/20/17

Previous (%)

5/19/17

Change

Hwy 35 & 92 - coyote brush

171

188

-17

Pulgas - coyote brush

168

170

-2

Saratoga Summit - chamise

106

118

-12

new growth

120

143

-23

old growth

92

93

-1

Corralitos - manzanita

126

121

+5

new growth

133

149

-16

old growth

120

93

+27

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Jun
15

Minutes of 6/14 FSSMC Meeting Now Available

On our "Home" page, click the "About Us" tab, and then "Meetings". You will see two options, "Agendas" and "Minutes". Click "Minutes" to find the one for this meeting in the 2017 folder.

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Jun
07

60 Minutes: Why fighting wildfires often fails -- and what to do about it

More than 100M Americans live in or near forests and grasslands that can erupt in flames. Steve Inskeep reports on fighting wildfires, which cost federal agencies almost $2B last year

Fighting wildfires in America cost federal agencies almost $2 billion last year including more than half the budget of the U.S. Forest Service. Wildland fires are growing worse in a time of drought and climate change, and the biggest and most destructive fires can't be stopped. They are a force of nature: imagine trying to stop a hurricane. Yet the government has to try, because more than a 100 million Americans now live in -- or near -- forests and grasslands that can erupt in flames.

Watch the 60 Minutes Special

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Jan
31

Schedule of Upcoming 2017 FSSMC Meetings

Upcoming meeting dates are 2/8, 4/12, 6/14, 10/11 and 12/13. Meetings are on Wednesdays and start at 9:15 am at 4091 Jefferson Ave. in Redwood City. Our annual barbeque will be on 8/9, location to be determined.

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Jul
19

The Efficacy of Hazardous Fuel Treatments

The Efficacy of Hazardous Fuel Treatments

Click on the link below for a copy of A Special Report from the Ecological Restoration Institute at Northern Arizona University to the U.S. Department of Interior, Office of Wildland Fire.

The reports covers the efficacy of hazardous fuel treatments and is a rapid assessment of the economic and ecologic consequences of alternative hazardous fuel treatments.

Download the Report:

2013-report-Efficacy-of-Hazardous-Fuel-Treatments.pdf

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May
19

2016 Living With Fire In San Mateo County Brochure Available

Long awaited and now here! 

The 2016 version provides a comprenhensive rundown on how to protect your home from the risk of wildfire along with a detailed list of resources.

You can accesss it from our "Home" page by clicking on the "Read More" tab as this item scrolls and stops on your screen or through the "Resources" then "Living with Fire" tabs where you can view, download and print it.

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Apr
25

Fire Safe Receives Award Check from FM Global

At the April 13th Fire Safe San Mateo County meeting, FM Global, a Rhode Island-based insurance carrier, presented a check to Fire Safe in the amount of $2,015 for the installation of hazardous fuel road signage at four strategic locations in San Mateo County.  CAL FIRE will be responsible for the installation.

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Mar
31

Fire Safe San Mateo County Awarded Hazardous Fuel Reduction Grant by CAL FIRE

On March 30, 2016, FSSMC received notice from The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) that its grant project entitled Los Tranco/Vista Verde Hazardous Fuel Reduction Program had been selected for funding in the amount of $75,150.  The project will last for two years beginning with community outreach and education in the second quarter of this year followed by hazardous fuel reduction activitivies over the remaining life of the program.

Congratulations and many thanks to those who were instrumental in helping to create a successful application!!

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Feb
24

Winning A Wildfire Preparation Day Grant

Apologies for the very short notice, State Farm is offering $500 per selected grant.  The grant application needs to be in no later than February 28th, so an off-the-shelf proposal is best.

Join individuals and groups of all ages on May 7, and participate in national Wildfire Community Preparedness Day activities that will make your community safer from the impacts of future and past wildfires.

For details, check out the following link:

http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/outdoors/wildland-fires/campaigns/national-wildfire-community-preparedness-day

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Feb
24

Your House Could Survive A Wildfire Video from Dr. Jack Cohen

Overview:

Wildland fires are a serious threat to lives and property in the U.S. The combination of drought, warmer temperatures, high winds and an excess of dried vegetation in forests and grasslands has made fire seasons progressively worse over the past 50 years. And, in the last decade, wildfires have burned over 80 million acres of these lands. According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), 2015 saw one of the worst fire seasons in decades, with over 10 million acres burned.

Facts and Figures:

  • According to the NIFC, 2015 saw more than 68,000 wildfires burn over 10 million acres.   
  • The U.S. Forest Service reports that 2015 was also the most expensive wildfire season on record, costing $1.71 billion for the year. This total surpasses the previous record of $1.67 billion set in 2002.    A total of 4,636 structures were destroyed by wildfires in 2015, including more than 2,600 homes and more than 100 commercial buildings   
  • The National Association of State Foresters (NASF) cites more than 72,000 U.S. communities are at risk from wildfires.

Be sure to check out this video from Dr. Jack Cohen, Fire Science Researcher, at the USDA Forest Service for details about how a house could survive a wildfire.

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Nov
06

California Wildland Urban Interface Code Information

Fire Code Book CoverYears of experience by the California fire service have led to a new strategy for reducing the chance of building loss or damage due to wildfire, with new regulations that are now mandatory within the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI). It is a two-pronged approach – providing defensible space and constructing a more ignition-resistant structure.

​EXTERIOR WILDFIRE EXPOSURE PROTECTION:

 Buildings are now required to be constructed so that they have less chance of catching fire from burning embers from wildfires. Most of the highest wildfire losses take place during hot, windy days or nights when flames spread so fast that many buildings catch fire and overwhelm available firefighting forces. Many buildings ignite when burning embers land on wood roofs, blow in through vents, pile up in cracks, or become lodged under boards. By constructing buildings in a way that reduces the ability of embers to intrude, a major cause of structure ignition is reduced.

Recently adopted building codes reduce the risk of burning embers igniting buildings. Standards are already in effect for roofs, attic vents, siding, exterior doors, decking, windows, eaves, wall vents and enclosed overhanging decks.


Years of experience by the California fire service have led to a new strategy for reducing the chance of building loss or damage due to wildfire, with new regulations that are now mandatory within the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI). It is a two-pronged approach – providing defensible space and constructing a more ignition-resistant structure.

​EXTERIOR WILDFIRE EXPOSURE PROTECTION:

 Buildings are now required to be constructed so that they have less chance of catching fire from burning embers from wildfires. Most of the highest wildfire losses take place during hot, windy days or nights when flames spread so fast that many buildings catch fire and overwhelm available firefighting forces. Many buildings ignite when burning embers land on wood roofs, blow in through vents, pile up in cracks, or become lodged under boards. By constructing buildings in a way that reduces the ability of embers to intrude, a major cause of structure ignition is reduced.

Recently adopted building codes reduce the risk of burning embers igniting buildings. Standards are already in effect for roofs, attic vents, siding, exterior doors, decking, windows, eaves, wall vents and enclosed overhanging decks.


CHAPTER 7A BUILDING CODE LANGUAGE

FIRE SAFE REGULATIONS

Government Code Sections 51175-51189   

General Guidelines for Creating Defensible Space

Building Materials Listings and Manufacturning Process

***NEW WUI PRODUCTS HANDBOOK***

Homeowner's Summary of Fire Prevention Laws

http://www.woodsidefire.org/components/com_jce/editor/tiny_mce/plugins/anchor/img/anchor.gif);">What You Need To Know About California’s New Building Codes

Protecting a building from wildfire takes a two-pronged approach:

  • Remove flammable materials from around the building
  • Construct the building of fire resistant material

The law requires that homeowners do fuel modification to 100 feet (or the property line) around their buildings to create a defensible space for firefighters and to protect their homes from wildfires.

New building codes will protect buildings from being ignited by flying embers which can travel as much as a mile away from the wildfire.  The following ignition-resistant standards are designed to prevent embers from igniting a building:

BUILDING MATERIALS LISTINGS FOR WILDLAND URBAN INTERFACE BUILDING MATERIALS

The Office of the State Fire Marshal's (SFM) Building Materials Listing Program (BML) was originally created to mandate that all fire alarm systems and fire alarm devices be approved and listed by the State Fire Marshal prior to sale or marketing within the state. The program later was expanded to include many other materials such as: roof coverings, fire resistive wall and ceiling-floor assemblies, wall finish materials, fire and non-fire related hardware, insulating products, fire doors, fire dampers, electrical appliances and devices. Each product approval and listing is based upon an evaluation of test results that include an analysis of required product performance and reliability features. All manufacturers that want to list products in California must have those products tested and labeled by a SFM accredited laboratory. If a product does not qualify for listing but meets the standard of the “Materials and Construction Methods for Exterior Wildfire Exposure,” Chapter 7A of the California Building Code will be listed in the WUI Product Handbook.

WUI BUILDING MATERIALS TESTING STANDARDS

The new building standard for the Fire Hazard Severity Zones will be enforced by the Building Official as projects go through the plan checking process. To best assist them in determining if a product meets the code requirements, the State Fire Marshal's BML Program is accepting applications for materials that meet the new code. These materials will be listed on the SFM BML website and the Wildland Urban Interface Building Codes page of the Wildland Hazards and Building Codes website section. The SFM listing service provides building authorities, architectural and engineering communities, contractors, and the fire service with a reliable and readily available source of information.

Since the materials under Wildland Urban Interface Building Codes (except wood shakes and shingles) are not required by law to be listed by the SFM, the listing for these products are strictly voluntary. Materials not listed by the SFM may still qualify for use provided they met all the requirements under Chapter 7A. If not listed on the SFM site, all documentation and testing certificates showing compliance must be submitted to the building official having jurisdiction for final approval.

EFFECTIVE DATES OF CODE:

On September 20, 2007 the Building Standards Commission approved the Office of the State Fire Marshal’s emergency regulations amending the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title 24, Part 2, known as the 2007 California Building Code (CBC).

“701A.3.2 New Buildings Located in Any Fire Hazard Severity Zone.

New buildings located in any Fire Hazard Severity Zone within State Responsibility Areas, any Local Agency Very-High Fire Hazard Severity Zone, or any Wildland-Urban Interface Fire Area designated by the enforcing agency for which an application for a building permit is submitted on or after January 1, 2008, shall comply with all sections of this chapter. New buildings located in any Fire Hazard Severity Zone shall comply with one of the following:

1. State Responsibility Areas.
New buildings located in any Fire Hazard Severity Zone within State Responsibility Areas, for which an application for a building permit is submitted on or after January 1, 2008, shall comply with all sections of this chapter.

2. Local Agency Very-High Fire Hazard Severity Zone.
New buildings located in any Local Agency Very-High Fire Hazard Severity Zone for which an application for a building permit is submitted on or after July 1, 2008, shall comply with all sections of this chapter.

3. Wildland-Urban Interface Fire Area designated by the enforcing agency.
New buildings located in any Wildland-Urban Interface Fire Area designated by the enforcing agency for which an application for a building permit is submitted on or after January 1, 2008, shall comply with all sections of this chapter.

HOW TO GET CODE QUESTIONS ANSWERED

Information Bulletins” and formal state building standards “Code Interpretations” pertaining to wildfire protection building codes are available from the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

Project specific questions should be addressed by the agency having jurisdiction of the project. They may have more restrictive requirements in local ordinances.

WUI INFORMATIONAL BULLETINS:

WUI REFERENCE MATERIALS:

New Building Standards have been adopted for areas within local jurisdiction Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones and in the State Responsibility Areas (SRA). Phase I of the standards are already in effect. Phase II standards will go into effect January 1, 2008.

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Nov
06

Hardening Your Home Against Wildfire

A wildfire-safe home must be an ember-ignition-resistant home, so that even if the flames do not reach your home, it will be able to withstand exposure to embers that may have been blown a mile or more in front of a wildfire.  To provide maximum wildfire protection for your home, a combination of near-home vegetation management, appropriate building materials, and related design features must be used. These points are summarized the excellent Univesity of California publication, "Home Survival in Wildfire-Prone Areas: Building Materials and Design Considerations."

Preparing and maintaining adequate defensible space will guard against flame contact and radiant exposures from nearby vegetation—but because of the likely ember exposure to your home during a wildfire, you cannot ignore building material and design considerations. Similarly, if you ignore your defensible space (i.e., you do not have it or do not maintain it), the wildfire will produce maximum ember, flame, and radiant exposures to your home.  It is very unlikely that even hardened buildings can survive such exposure, as a weak link will likely exist somewhere in the building enclosure. 

There is a direct link between home survival, the vegetation management required in developing adequate defensible space around the home, and the building materials and design used to construct the home. The area where your vegetation should be managed (i.e., your defensible space) will depend on the particular topography and siting of the home on the property. Information included in this publication is focused on the home and is intended to provide information to help you make “fire wise” decisions regarding material choices and design decisions, whether you are building a new home or retrofitting your existing house. A considerable amount of information has been published in recent years on defensible space and vegetation management. Check with your local cooperative extension office or fire department for information appropriate to your area.

Read more about hardening Your Home against wildfire...

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