fire break

 Landscaping  Comments Off on fire break
Nov 222022

In August, we got a rather unexpected notice from the Ross Valley Fire Department. They were coming to do fire mitigation up the hill behind our house. As it turns out, we are right on the town boundary with open space all around us, and the fire department got funding to reduce burnable material in the forests around the edge of Fairfax. This will make it easier to protect the town if a wildfire comes sweeping through our area. We were, of course, delighted — I’ve been pulling scotch broom up that hill ever since we finished the house in 2008, and it’s been a tough battle. Any help is appreciated!

Sure enough, tree crews and laborers showed up in September, and worked for a week to pull broom, limb trees, and make piles of burnable branches. They hauled truckload after truckload of material down the hill.

Piles of branches and scotch broom across the street, ready for the chipper

Yesterday was burn day, and several dozen firefighters arrived bright and early. They ran a 2-inch fire hose at the end of the street, extending about a quarter mile behind all our houses past about thirty burn piles. Near each pile, a T-connection added a smaller hose for controlling the burn.

And then it was time to light everything.

About ten piles burning behind the houses to the north of us
…and a few more behind our neighbor to the south.
A little movie panorama of the action

An hour later it’s all over, the piles are done smoldering and hoses are getting rolled up. The results are impressive. All this work pushed the edge of the big scotch broom plants further up the hill, making more of the forest visible. Tons of downed wood are gone, branches have been thinned out, and my fire suppression job each summer just got much easier. We’ve got some big charred spots on the hillside, which will go away over time. And the field across the street has pile after pile of chipped material, which is gradually getting spread all around the field. My hat is off to our fire department!