Wildfire is “natural,” an agent of ecosystem renewal and positive change. It can also be deadly, destroying lives and homes and wildlife habitats, and releasing toxic pollutants into air and water, and emitting huge quantities of greenhouse gases.
Fueled by a build-up of live and dead vegetation, driven by wind, and exacerbated by extreme drought conditions, wildfire is now an ever-present threat in Marin. Removing vegetation that fuels wildfire is an urgent need, yet presents a challenge: How to retain the unique functions of vegetation to sustain food webs, habitat for birds and other wildlife, rare plants, storm runoff, microclimates, soil health and carbon sequestration, even as we drastically remove it? Through ongoing partnerships, MCL is leading a collaborative approach to managing the risks of wildfire in Marin while promoting ecologically sound practices.
Our Fire and the Environment Working Group successfully supported Measure C, which created the Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority, and continues to play a leadership role in the roll-out of the Authority programs. Some of its work includes:
- The Ecologically Sound Practices collaborative (co-founded and co-led by MCL) is developing “best practices” in vegetation management, working with the new Authority, FIRESafe Marin, Marin Master Gardeners, and others;
- Promoting pro-environment language and ecological principles that are part of Marin County’s Community Wildfire Prevention Plan; and
- MCL’s Fire Policy which includes recommendations for fire management tools such as prescribed burns, grazing practices, and others, while minimizing damage to habitats and native vegetation.