With the record winter rain storms behind us and warmer days ahead, we are all keenly aware of the threat of wildfire to our precious arboreal community. At a special Community Meeting on fire prevention and preparedness held on March 25 at the Mill Valley Community Center, city leaders and fire officials warned of the widespread devastation that a wildfire could bring upon us.   

Through photos, videos and scientific data, fire safety experts presented a compelling case for constant vigilance and maintenance by homeowners, especially within the Home Ignition Zone (HIZ), the area located 3-5 feet from the perimeter of all structures. The City’s recently drafted vegetation management ordinance makes this issue a mandatory requirement, subject to fines and liens if not implemented.

All residents and homeowners in fire prone areas like Marin, Napa and Sonoma Counties MUST maintain a sense of urgency by taking steps to reduce and remove flammable vegetation from their properties. The ideal time to address these critical issues is right now as the hot, dry days of summer approach.  

A recent front page story in the Marin Independent Journal noted that “roughly 7,000 Marin homes, or about one in 15 countywide, are built in areas that the state’s lead firefighting agency calls “very high” hazards for wildfires…more than 15,000 people live in those homes, which is nearly 7 percent of the county’s population, according to the data collected by McClatchy and The Associated Press.”

Accordingly, citizens are being called upon to take more of an active role to protect their lives and homes. Public utilities like PG&E have ramped up their surveillance and early warning systems. But don’t expect fire fighters to get to every home during a blazing inferno. There is simply not enough manpower or response time. That’s why homeowners must become more proactive in creating “survivable space” around their homes by removing combustible vegetation and adding “hardscape materials” like stone, gravel and/or fire-resistant plants.

One concerned citizen has taken this advice to heart. Longtime Mill Valley resident Bob Emrich inspired his neighbors to remove nearly 50 tons of fire fuel and establish a designated “Firewise USA” site for his Middle Ridge neighborhood. Bob is now assisting other neighborhoods in their efforts to achieve the same status.

But it’s just a beginning. Bob has seen how much more work remains to keep his beloved community safe. Responding to this urgent call to action, and the numerous complaints he has received about the high fees charged by commercial tree operations, Bob formed his own company, Bob’s Firesafe Team, Inc. (d/b/a “Bob’s Tree Service”), to meet the area’s growing demand for more affordable vegetation management services. You can view his company’s customer testimonials on this site and on the NextDoor website under “Tree Services.”

 What Can You Do to Prepare?

Clear vegetation around your property! Especially highly flammable species like Acacia, Juniper, Scotch Broom, Bay and Cypress.

Check out the new Defensible Space App

Request a free residential fire assessment.

Prepare for an evacuation: pack your Grab-and-Go bag, learn two ways to evacuate from your neighborhood (both walking and driving), get to know your neighbors and be willing to help in the event of an emergency.

Collect and maintain 5-7 days of supplies should you have to shelter in place.

Sign up for emergency alerts at AlertMarin and Mill Valley Nixle.


Bob's Firesafe Team, Inc.

20 Sunnyside Ave./Ste. 166        

Mill Valley, CA 94941          

Tel 415-390-2711

FAX 415-322-6133