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FAQ Topic: Wildfire Action Plan Requirements for Residents

Hazardous fuels reduction along roadways will need to be maintained

Shrubs and trees that overhang public roadways and impede the safe access of emergency vehicles will be trimmed or removed. Why? Removal of hazardous fuels along public roadways will reduce the risk of roadside fire ignition and improve safety along evacuation routes.

Short-term rental protections

All short-term rental units are required to post emergency procedures, information on signing up for emergency alerts, and fire safety information.  Why? Short-term rentals represent a unique fire risk for a variety of reasons. Those using short-term rentals may be from out of the area and unfamiliar with wildfire risk and safety procedures. The information will … Continued

Two gates will be required in a fenced in area

Designated parcels will be required to have more than one means and direction of egress in the event of a wildfire or other emergency. Fences over two (2) feet tall will be required to have two gates, accessing different cardinal directions installed. This will include new fences, replaced fences, and at property resale.  Why? To … Continued

Evacuation through garage doors

The city will develop a program to encourage the implementation of garage door battery backup systems.  Why? Power failures, impacting the functionality of automatic garage doors, can make evacuation by car impossible during an emergency. Effective, July 1, 2019, Senate Bill 969 requires all new and replacement automatic garage doors to have a backup battery or … Continued

Establish a “parking box” program in residential hillside neighborhoods

Parking will only be permitted in designated “boxed” areas which will be designed to assure emergency vehicles can access all streets in San Rafael. Why? Our Municipal Code currently prohibits parking on narrow street unless six feet (6’) from center is maintained unobstructed. This standard is confusing, hard to enforce, and does not guarantee fire … Continued

Prohibit shake and wooden roofs

Pending future City Council action, all shake and wooden roofs would be required to be replaced by January 1, 2029 or at time of resale, whichever is first. Why? Wooden roofs are much more susceptible to ignition of embers or other fire debris. Replacing wooden roofs with fire rated materials makes home ignition less likely … Continued

Require modifications to vegetation surrounding all structures on a property

No vegetation except for 3-inch grass or succulents is to exist within 0’-5’ of any structures on the property. Vines and ivy will have to be well-irrigated and maintained. Mulch or similar ground covering is only permitted when no contact is made with combustible exterior walls or plants.   Why? Many of the recent large fires were spread by windblown embers which started many … Continued

Apply wildfire building codes citywide

Requirements that once only applied to parcels in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) will be applicable to all parcels within the City of San Rafael. For example, if you are replacing the windows throughout your home, they will need to meet the fire resistant building material requirements as outlined in California Fire Code Section 7A. Why? Wildfire knows no … Continued

Require that residents remove hazardous vegetation from their property

All property owners in San Rafael, both public and private, will be required to remove all juniper, bamboo, acacia, and Italian cypress from their property.    Why? While no plant is “fire proof”, there are many attractive plants that are less fire prone or fire safe. Removing some of the most pervasive and fire prone plants from San Rafael will reduce wildfire risk and … Continued

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