Are You Ready for Wildfire?
All Kentfield residents should receive a Wildfire Hazard pamphlet in the mail this week. Use the tips on the inside of this pamphlet to reduce flammable vegetation and other hazards on your property. Use fire resistant plants (www.firesafemarin.org/plants) and design your landscaping to beautify your home while improving fire resistance.
Beginning mid-May 2018, a team of Fire Inspectors from Kentfield Fire Protection District will begin annual wildfire hazard inspections of all parcels in the Kent Woodlands. These wildfire hazard inspections will be more thorough than in years past and will provide homeowners with valuable written input on specific ways to reduce the hazard near your home. Data collected will help us map and better understand wildfire risk across the whole community. Some parcels, especially those near open space, may receive an even more thorough inspection, and all homeowners will have an opportunity for dialogue with wildfire experts.
WHY ARE THESE INSPECTIONS NEEDED AND HOW WILL INSPECTORS INSPECT MY PROPERTY?
The devastating California wildfires of 2017 underscore the value of wildfire preparedness. Many simple, inexpensive measures can dramatically improve a home's resistance to wildfire. When all homes in a community maintain defensible space, as required by law, residents and firefighters are safer and properties are more likely to survive fires.
The Inspectors will not enter a property without permission. They are trained to walk up to a front door (through an unlocked front gate at the street, if present, under rules of curtilage), and knock to introduce themselves. If no adult is present, the Inspectors have two options: 1) inspect the property as visible from the front door or public areas such as from the roadway, or 2) come back later. Under no circumstances do the Inspectors enter locked or gated areas of a property without permission of a resident or landowner, and they don't "peek" over fences to see a backyard - unless the property is plainly visible from a common area.
DO I NEED TO REMOVE MY TREES AND LANDSCAPING?
No! Mature, healthy trees need to be maintained for fire resistance, but rarely need to be removed. Fire resistant landscaping can be beautiful and most existing landscaping, when maintained properly, can be fire resistant. Only a few of the most hazardous species (juniper, bamboo, pampas/jubata grass, and some conifer trees such as diseased Monterey pines) are recommended for removal.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I RECEIVE A VIOLATION NOTICE?
If you receive a wildfire hazard violation notice, you will have 30 days to correct the issues before a re-inspection occurs. Although the law requires defensible space and other measures specified in the notice, we intend to use this opportunity to work with all property owners to reduce your risk while educating residents about wildfire hazards. Check www.firesafemarin.org/defensible-space for tips on complying with the law and creating defensible space. If you need additional time or clarification on requirements, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Failure to comply with the defensible space standard in California Fire Code 4907.2 and Public Resources Code 4291 can result in fines and/or levies.
If you have specific questions about the violation notice, feel free to email email@example.com.
The wildfire mailer is attached here for your information.