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FIRE IN MARIN! Free Seminar

This “Fire in Marin” seminar at Angelico Hall (Edited), DUC, presented by Katherine Randolph, is the most comprehensive and detailed seminar given to teach the defense of home and life in the face of a wildfire. Your SR Fire Department, the Dominican Black Canyon Neighborhood Association, and the Dominican University emphatically encourage you to attend to learn how to save your home and your life.

The DBCNA Wildfire Defense Bulletin No. 5

On How to Save Your Home and Your Life

In June, Dominican / Black Canyon was recognized by FireWise USA as meeting requirements as a FireWise site. For our homeowners, recognition means:

  • Insurance companies are less likely to cancel policies

  • Some insurance companies (notably USAA) offer discounts on insurance

  • We qualify for funding for “Chipper Days” from FireSafe Marin

  • We have an active plan to reduce risk of fire

While recognition is beneficial, on-going efforts to “harden homes” by home owners along with “walk-through-the-yard” inspections from the San Rafael Fire Department, our own Bulletins and the seminar on August 26 by Katherine Randolph are essential.

Latest report from the San Rafael Fire Dept. Inspectors
“All the homes on Lillian Lane, parts of Glen Park Avenue, Hacienda Court have been inspected. Inspections on Villa Avenue have begun. Citations were issued to land owners that affect the Dominican Neighborhood. These three parcels are shown on the map below:


All three land owners have cooperated, including the owner of an 18 acre ($150,000 project) shaded fuel break from Dominican Drive, Glen Park, and Villa Avenue. French Broom adjacent to the homes on Hacienda in open space has been cleared. Vegetation has been cleared for 10 feet on both sides of Aquinas and Scettrini fire roads into open space.”

Doing our part as homeowners:
As much as San Rafael Fire has done, nevertheless, the residents of Dominican/Black Canyon need to do our part to keep our community safe. Create defensible space near your home and harden your home against wildfire. Track your labor and expenses so we can maintain our certification. We would love to publicize before and after photos of your efforts.

The DBCNA Wildfire Defense Bulletin No. 4

On How to Save Your Home and Your Life

Alert Marin sends a notice to your phone(s) of impending life-threatening events. Timely notice could save your life, especially at night. Alert Marin is a free service offered by the Marin County Office of Emergency Services. Sign up here:  

Registration is particularly important because the current list of phone numbers available to Marin County does not include numbers for cell phones or phone services bundled with internet such as Comcast and AT&T.

Only 466 addresses in our Dominican Black Canyon neighborhood have registered with Alert Marin. This is just half of the 904 homes in our neighborhood. All our homes should be registered – no one should be left behind in an evacuation.  So please sign up now.

In cooperation with the San Rafael Police Department, we are planning an evacuation drill for later this summer. We will use Alert Marin to encourage participation. If you don’t want to test your device or receive a notice of this drill, Alert Marin allows a user to opt out of anything that is not a real emergency.

You may have heard of Nixle, but it is no substitute for Alert Marin. Nixle allows local police departments and county emergency management offices to send notices to subscribers. In Marin, Nixle even includes notices of events like road closures. To sign up, go to:

Thought for the day:
“Fires don’t act the way you think they 

Vegetation Management Post from SR Fire Department

If you’re not a member on Nextdoor, here is some information from Vegetation Management Specialists Patrick Bignardi and Marshall Nau of the San Rafael Fire Department:

Is your property Defensible?

Fire Season is upon us! Is your property defensible in case of a wildfire?

Step 1: Take the test and find out! Click the link below and take the Homeowner Wildfire Assessment.

Step 2: Ask for a Residential Fire Hazard Assessment. Please go to fill out the Residential Fire Hazard Assessment Request Form and an inspector will contact you to schedule an appointment.


Defensible Space for the San Rafael Home in the WUI

Take the basic steps to protect your neighborhood:

The DBCNA Wildfire Defense Bulletin No. 3

On How to Save Your Home and Your Life

Important SRFD mail arrived this last week!
Please be sure to read it carefully.

Your Neighborhood Association wishes to call your attention to the mailer you received from the San Rafael Fire Department this last week.  This critical-information mailer describes the vegetation management needed of each of us to prevent a wildfire from consuming our homes.

Please open it and learn how to follow SR property maintenance regulations that will protect you and your neighbors from the threat of wildfire.  A detailed and very clear diagram shows how to create defensible space around your home – thereby increasing the chance that your home will survive a wildfire.  In addition, you’ll want the helpful phone numbers listed as well as links to useful websites.

So – please check that mail pile and make time to carefully study this essential information.

The DBCNA Wildfire Defense Bulletin No. 2

On How to Save Your Home and Your Life

Every Dominican Black Canyon resident can learn how to deal with the threat of wildfires by watching (lots of pictures and short videos) and listen/reading to this course, particularly the first four lesson sections.

You will learn:

How a wildfire behaves
How homes can ignite when in the proximity of a wildfire
How simple actions can reduce the likelihood of your home being destroyed
How community actions can affect the level of damage caused by a wildfire
And much more

While the course is aimed at fire prevention professionals, it is a major source of information for the homeowner who is living under the perennial threat of wildfire as are all of us living in the Dominican Black Canyon community.

The course is presented in a fashion like that of an online driver education course, with multiple chapters and quizzes at the end of each chapter.  It can be taken all at once or spread out over several days. And it is free.

To access this information, please go to the following site. (This seems to work better on a desktop computer as opposed to an iPad.)

DBCNA Wildfire Defense Bulletin No. 1

On How to Save Your Home and Your Life

Following up on our Wildfire Defense Forum on May 5th, your Neighborhood Assn. will send you added (maybe repetitive, but that’s ok!) facts—just the facts–periodically.

For openers, you have asked about “walk-throughs” (not in your home but outside) by specialists from the SRFD who will show you ways to “harden” your home against the embers of a wildfire.
Both Fire Inspector Pat Bignardi and Fire Inspector Marshall Nau of the SR Fire Dept. are the Vegetation Management Coordinators tasked with protecting the City’s residents and open space from wildfire threats by regularly conducting hazard assessments and inspections for and with property owners. They bring the latest ideas and perspectives based on what has been learned from the Sonoma fires. With about 950 homes in the Dominican area, we suggest you call them now and not wait for the wildfire season to be in full force.

Their contact info is:
Pat Bignardi, work (415) 485-3308 or mobile (415) 847-8385

Marshall Nau, work (415) 485-3457 or mobile (415) 847-8451

Where possible, you may wish to ask your adjacent neighbors if they would like to be included in the walk-through of property at the same time as you, particularly if your homes are close together.

DBCNA Annual Neighborhood Meeting Summary

On May 5th, prior to the Dominican Black Canyon Neighborhood Association’s Wildfire Defense Forum, the Association held a brief annual business meeting at the Creekside Room at which time two items were brought to the members’ attention following the call to order at 10:04am.

First, in the interest of time, a printed copy of the Treasurer’s Report was provided to all attendees, and anyone wishing to pursue a more detailed accounting or having questions was asked to follow up with Bonnie Marks, Treasurer, at the end of the meeting.  Bonne reported that there were no questions.

Second, for those positions on the Board whose two-year terms were expiring, the President introduced a slate of nominees for two-year terms beginning effective June 1, 2018 as follows:

For Vice-President: Jay Hubert*

For Treasurer: Bonnie Marks*

For Directors:  Robert Levine*, John Contini, Liza Moran

Motion was made, seconded and passed without discussion to place the above names in nomination.

A call was made for further nominations from the floor: none were made.

Motion was made, seconded and passed without discussion to elect the above slate by acclamation.

The business meeting was concluded at 10:17am and the Wildfire Defense Forum was begun with the first speaker.

Here is a list of the Wildfire Defense Forum speakers and a link to their presentations:

Richard Shortall, President of the Fire Safe Marin Council and President of the Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District presentation: Fire Preparedness

Fire Inspector Marshall Nau of the SR Fire Dept., Vegetation Management Coordinator presentation: Hazardous Assessments

Katherine Randolph, Marin Master Gardener presentation:  Vegetation

Diana Bishop, SR Chief of Police presentation: Evacuation Plans

Respectfully submitted,

Jack Nixon, President

FireWise Expenditure Form for 2017


Yesterday, May 5th, the DBCNA held a Wildfire Defense Forum on the Dominican campus. Those who attended remarked that it was an exceptionally worthwhile event, providing highly useful information.

Now your Neighborhood Association will proceed with applying for a FireWise Certification for Dominican Black Canyon. This certification will benefit our community in, at a minimum, several ways, e.g., the advantages of discounted property insurance rates, the protection from blanket termination of insurance, and continuation of chipper days, to name a few.

The next important step toward FireWise certification is documenting that the neighborhood has already made efforts towards reducing fire risk.  These efforts can be either monetary or time-related.  Any time or money spent toward fire risk reduction counts.

In order to qualify for FireWise certification, DBCNA needs to document outlay of approximately $23,000 total for the entire neighborhood in 2017 (about $24 per household).  Time logged in fire reducing efforts are logged at $24 per hour (the federal volunteer hourly rate). We need your help in documenting that we have reached the FireWise required cumulative total.  You can do this by sending the DBCNA your expenditures from 2017 that will easily allow us to reach that number!


Please submit this form of estimated expenses or time spent towards reducing fire risk for your property in calendar year 2017.

Name: ______________________________


Total expense paid: _________________

Total hours of unpaid labor: _________

You can send this information by:

1. Go online and complete the brief FireWise Expenditure Form 

2. Email Jay Hubert (Fire Committee Chair) at:

3. Print this page, complete the information above and mail to:
P.O. Box 151702
San Rafael, CA 94915-1702

Here is an example on how to complete this form:

John Smith
360 Locust Ave

Total expense paid (to gardeners, contractors, etc): $4200

Total hours of unpaid labor (your hours working on the property): 20

Thank you for helping support this important effort.  If you would kindly submit your form by Friday, May 25th that would be greatly appreciated.

UPDATE Wildfire Defense Forum – May 5th

The Action is Saturday, May 5th, 10am, Creekside Room

“Just the Facts, Ma’am, Just the Facts!”

Remember this line by Detective Friday on the TV series “Dragnet?”  Well, getting you the facts on Wildfire Defense of your home and your life is the goal of your Dominican Black Canyon Neighborhood Assn. at our Wildfire Defense Forum at 10am on Saturday, May 5, Creekside Room at the cafeteria building on the Dominican U. campus: four authorities in their respective fields will present “the facts” that each of us must know to be prepared.  We must learn now: when wildfire threatens, there will be no time for learning.  Preparing for a wildfire is not someone else’s problem: it is our problem.

Our Speakers:

Richard Shortall is President of the Fire Safe Marin Council and President of the Sleepy Hollow Fire Protection District. A retired SFFD Assistant Deputy Fire Chief, Rich Shortall will address 1) personal preparedness and evacuation pre-planning; 2) what is entailed in creating your defensible space around your home; 3) actions you can take to reduce your home’s structural ignitability (roof, vents and openings, decks, etc.; and 4) possible gaps in your homeowner policy’s replacement coverage and/or building code upgrade coverage.

Fire Inspector Marshall Nau of the SR Fire Dept. is a Vegetation Management Coordinator tasked with protecting the City’s residents and open space from wildfire threats by regularly conducting hazard assessments and inspections for and with residents. His remarks will cover what he looks for in assessing property hazards plus he will explain the city ordinance requiring his assessment efforts.

Katherine Randolph served on the Mill Valley Emergency Preparedness Commission for four years, during which time she researched the risk of catastrophic fire in Marin, noting that few residents were taking action on fire departments’ advice, so she began teaching wildfire defense:  over ten years, over 1,200 Marin residents have taken her free class. A Marin Master Gardener, Katherine will explain the why and the how of creating an attractive defensible space—what readily burns, what doesn’t, and where to plant it, and what residents must know about evacuation preparedness.

Diana Bishop, our SR Chief of Police and a 33-year veteran of law enforcement who holds multiple degrees in public administration, isresponsible for the evacuation of our area when a wildfire occurs. She will explain how her police force will direct a Dominican Black Canyon wildfire evacuation plus the routes andprocedures for evacuation which each resident should know.  Chief Bishop will project the maps of Dominican Black Canyon for her explanation of the evacuation process.

Each speaker will use visuals and have a tight time schedule to follow.

Please schedule 10am, May 5, at the Creekside Room for the facts on wildfire defense in our Dominican neighborhood. Talks will end NLT 11:31am with a Q&A scheduled until noon.

Thank you.

Your Dominican Black Canyon Neighborhood Assn. Directors and FireSafe Committee.

Coffee, tea and pastries will be provided by the DBCNA.