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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.  

Eligible Recipients 

All San Rafael residents who have had a full defensible space inspection are eligible. Homeowners can schedule a FREE inspection. 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.

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: 

  • Within 30 feet of structures, 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 
  • Completed by a licensed contractor 
  • 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. 

Types 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
  • 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 

Available Grant Funding 

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. 

Schedule a Full Defensible Space Inspection 

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.  

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. 
  • Proof of payment (receipt, credit card statement, etc.) 
  • Completed Application Packet 
  • Signed Grant Agreement
  • W-9 

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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