This year’s fire season is approaching. As a Firewise community, we’re putting safety first on the first Saturday in May. We invite you to participate in our Wildfire Community Preparedness Day on Saturday, May 2, 2020. You can help your neighborhood create a sense of community by working together on a project that can make a real difference.

Over the last two years, we’ve organized walks and drives around the neighborhoods, especially in the fire-prone ridge along the western edge. Martinez Area CERT is available to help property owners identify high fire risk areas on their property and thereby clear the area most in need. Marta Van Loan, CERT member leading our the Firewise team, reminds us:

Fire safety is an ongoing activity and perhaps everything can’t get done in one year, but work of the most important aspects first. In the older downtown section of Martinez houses are rather close together and it may take neighbors working together to make both properties safe.

Martinez Area CERT is also willing to work with local groups or business interesting in learning more about protecting their properties and businesses.

Here are some example properties that need weed abatement attention. (Thanks Marta!)

Here are a BEFORE and AFTER picture, showing how the dry grasses (fuel for a fire) have been removed making a more defensible space.

Defensible space (click for more)

The County’s weed abatement deadline is May 31, and notices of non-compliance will start going out on June 1st. Martinez Area CERT will once again assist the Contra Costa County Fire Prevention District in conducting neighborhood surveys to ensure that property owners have done due-diligence when it comes to removing flammable debris from yards and areas around homes and other structures on the property. Property owners should focus their efforts of clearing a defensible space around houses and other buildings that might be on the property. The most immediate action is around individual homes and expanding out to nearby structures, and under-developed property within the neighborhood and nearby.

Neighbors can work together to ensure greater fire prevention throughout the neighborhoods by having a neighborhood clean-up day. We will be organizing our walking and driving tours again this spring, taking into consideration all needed safety precautions including masks and social distancing as appropriate. If you’d like to join us, please let us know.