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The City of San Rafael is offering a grant program to assist San Rafael property owners in reducing wildfire risks on their property. Qualifying work includes vegetation management within 30 feet of a structure and home hardening efforts. The work completed will support the resident’s compliance with the vegetation standards of San Rafael Municipal Code Chapter 4.12 or the California Fire Code 7A home hardening standards, which would include ember-resistant vents, dual-paned windows, etc. This Grant program is funded by the Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority (MWPA). 

Please note that although we will strive to help all residents who need it, we cannot guarantee financial assistance for everyone under this program. Grants are limited and awarded on a first come first serve basis.  

The goal of this grant is to help the homeowners of San Rafael reach compliance with San Rafael Municipal Code Chapter 4.12.

Overview of the Program

All San Rafael residents who have had a full defensible space inspection are eligible for the Wildfire Mitigation Grant Program. Homeowners can schedule an FREE assessment. Please see below on how to schedule an inspection. Only the person directly incurring the expense will be eligible for reimbursement. In general, this will be the property owner, however a tenant that can provide documentation (such as a lease agreement) that the work is their responsibility may be eligible.

  • Note: The City and MWPA follow a fiscal year that runs from July 1st-June 30th each year.
  • All grant applications received after June 15, 2023 at 5pm will be null and void for the 22-23 fiscal year. Grants applications received after the deadline will be processed in the upcoming fiscal year. Retro applications will not be accepted.
  • Residents may only apply once every fiscal year for each grant.
  • Residents who have not received grant funds can still apply for work done in 2021- 2022 but they will not be eligible for expenses accrued in the 22-23 fiscal year.
  • Residents who have previously received grant funds are eligible for 2022-2023 grant funds if work was done within that fiscal year.

The City will offer up to $500 per applicant to cover the expenses relating to vegetation management/fuel reduction. The City will also offer up to $500 for home hardening without requiring matching funds.  

To receive more than $500, a resident must match the expense. A resident is limited to $1,000 in assistance for vegetation management/fuel reduction and $1,000 in home hardening/structural adaptations in a single calendar year.  To receive the $1,000 maximum for vegetation management/fuel reduction or home hardening, residents will need to provide documentation of $2,000 or more in eligible expenses. 

Eligibility for assistance in subsequent years will be determined by the funding available. This assistance program is not intended to support routine or ongoing maintenance. At this time funds can only support risk reduction and not replanting or similar activities. Please see qualifying expenses for examples.  

Residents may benefit from different MWPA Grant project allocations, provided the work cost exceeds the total amount of the grants received. Depending on the grant eligible work being performed, it may be beneficial to review the resources with the MWPA. 

The City strongly recommends getting multiple bids for work. The City reserves the right to give additional assistance for special cases at their discretion. To receive assistance greater than $1,000 dollars a resident will be asked to supply additional documentation, including proof of at least three bids or limited financial resources. Please reach out to srfd.grants@cityofsanrafael.org before performing work to see if you are eligible for increased assistance.  The City retains the right to approve or deny requests at their discretion. 

A full defensible space inspection is required for your grant application to be processed. If your property was fully inspected and you have not received your report, please email srfd.dspace@cityofsanrafael.org for your report. If you were left a notice and did not receive a full inspection, please schedule a full inspection below.  

A defensible space inspection involves allowing an inspector access to the exterior of your property to conduct and complete a comprehensive 360-degree evaluation of your home and property for wildfire risks including vegetation and structure design. The evaluations will be used to assist homeowners on making their homes and properties defensible from fire.  

Qualifying Expenses 

The following standards are meant to prioritize the most urgent wildfire risk reduction work. They may be adjusted as community needs change. 

For the work to be eligible, it must be: 

  • Completed by a San Rafael licensed business

Check if your contractor or gardener is licensed on our Business Search webpage: https://elicense.cityofsanrafael.org/Search. As a reminder, when performing work in San Rafael, a San Rafael Business License is required.

( See firesafemarin.org/contractors for a list of contractors who’ve completed basic training in wildfire preparedness. )

  • Within 100 feet of structures  or within 10 feet of a roadway  or along a driveway  to meet the access zone standards outlined in the most recent defensible space evaluation report.  Work must be prioritized from the “house out.”  Funds will not be awarded if a hazard 100 feet away from the home is addressed but a noted vegetation hazard within 5 feet of the home is ignored. 

  • Directly incurred by applicant, such as the purchase of home hardening materials or disposal of vegetation

All work previously completed in 2021 will be eligible if it meets the above requirements and the resident can clearly demonstrate the work was eligible with before and after photos, or a defensible space evaluation report. Eligible work not yet completed will be considered for funding after it is completed and as funds allow. 

Type of Eligible Work

  • Removal of hazardous vegetation within 30 feet of structure or 10 feet of road.  
  • Removal of fire ladders or fire bridges  
  • Dead vegetation and debris removal  
  • Fire-resistant tarp for wood-pile  
  • Fire-Resistant Vents – Fire Safe Marin  
  • Gutter Screens
  • Tempered Dual-paned windows or metal shutters
  • Fire-resistant retrofitting exterior materials:
    • Roof covering and metal drip roof edges  
    • Exterior walls and siding  
    • Eaves and porch ceilings  
    • Exterior doors  
    • Deck/patio/stair enclosures  
    • Underfloor and appendages  
  • Replacing wood shake roofs  
  • Spark arrestor screen   
  • Replace soffits that are not fire-resistant or cover with a non-combustible or fire-resistant material such as fiber-cement board or stucco.  
  • In very high Fire Severity Zones, installation of exterior 5/8-inch fire-resistant gypsum board between the existing and new soffit materials for enhanced fire resistance.  

If the fascia is combustible, cover the fascia board with a noncombustible or fire-resistant material (e.g., fire-retardant-treated lumber, fiber-cement board, etc.). 

  • Replanting   
  • Tools/ Equipment  
  • Routine or ongoing maintenance  
  • Detached accessory buildings such as a shed or garage are not subject to Chapter 7A requirements if they are located at least 50 feet from a building covered by the code.  
  • Exterior Sprinkler Systems 
  • Coatings 

How much are you eligible for?

Total cost of eligible work:

*If you participate in utility or public assistance programs, you may be eligible for additional funding assistance.

    How to Apply  

    Please fill out the packet below and mail or email the completed forms to the San Rafael Fire Department staff, Wildfire Mitigation Grant Program. You must include the following information. 

    • Before and After photos 
    • Invoice/Bill outlining work completed or item receipt purchased and associated costs, must be specific to show eligible work. * For example, “Removal of Juniper” is eligible. However, “landscaping” is not.  Invoices must include:
      • Applicants’ name
      • Address of the property
      • San Rafael Licensed Business Number and Contractor information
      • Date
      • Itemized description of the work completed and cost
      • Proof of payment (such as a copy of a deposited check, credit card statement, Venmo or PayPal printout, or cash receipt)
    • Completed Application Form
    • Signed Grant Agreement

    Applications can be mailed or dropped off at:

    1375 Fifth Avenue

    San Rafael, CA 94901

    Attn: Wildfire Mitigation Grant Program

    You can also start the application using the link below and email attachments to srfd.grants@cityofsanrafael.org

    If you need further assistance, please reach out to the Wildfire Mitigation Grant Team at  SRFD Grants srfd.grants@cityofsanrafael.org or 415-485-3054 

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