There are four simple things the Town of Fairfax can do to reduce the risk of wildfires.
- Goats. You may laugh, but having a rotating team of Fairfax-owned or leased goats consuming excess fire fuel from the open space around residences would vastly reduce fuel loads. This is a solution that would likely be acceptable to agencies like Marin County Open Space and Marin Municipal Water district because it doesn’t involve herbicides. Also, goats don’t need pensions! Remember that goats effectively eliminated invasive and fire prone grasses in San Rafael:
- Issue permits to residents to remove excess brush and other non-tree fuel from the open space adjacent to their residence. This would allow residents to maintain the recommended 30 to 100 foot safety zone around structures located on the wildland/urban interface. This would provide a healthy physical outlet for nervous energy and allow residents to exceed the town’s proposed baseline fuel removal. Why not? Any way we can encourage positive action is good thing.
- Remove dead and dying trees. This should be done by trained professionals after consultation with the Fairfax Tree Committee. It is a very important step in providing a more defensible space to firefighters. Instead of trucking away the resulting heavy wood, we could grind it and create a compost like end-product that would hold moisture and increase soil carbon.
- Encourage more stringent standards for the maintenance of powerlines by the California Public Utilities Commission. This infrastructure in our high fire-dangers such as the Cascade box canyon should be in top condition. To the greatest extent possible it should be able to withstand high winds and downed trees, both of which were a major factor in the recent Napa and Sonoma fires.
If elected as a town council member, I would propose that we are proactive on this issue. Let's not spend our lives wondering what could have been done.