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FireSafe Committee Reports


Help us keep our neighborhood safe and get involved in our efforts to create a Firewise Community.   FireSafe Marin’s  website  provides information on fire preparedness, such as creating a defensible space around your home, hardening your house as well as evacuation checklists.  There is also information on what a FireWise Community is and how we can become one.  There is much to learn from the devastating fires in Santa Rosa and even from our own neighborhood fires in the past.  To assist the Dominican FireWise Committee, or for more information about the Committee and our Firewise Community application, please contact Jay Hubert, Chair of the Fire Preparedness Committee at

Meeting from January 25, 2018:

The Dominican Neighborhood Association FireSafe Committee held its first meeting last week to begin work on our application to qualify Dominican as a Firewise Community.  Qualifying will make us eligible for state and federal grants for wildfire prevention projects, help protect homeowners from losing their fire insurance, support free chipper days, and help us plan as a community to prepare for catastrophic wildfire.  The first big step is for us to prepare a community wildfire hazard assessment report.  This includes preparing a history of wildfires in Dominican.  For this, we are looking for a community volunteer to do research at the Marin History Museum. If you would like to contribute by doing this research, please contact Committee Chair Jay Hubert at

Stay tuned for updates on our progress towards becoming a Firewise Community!

Meeting from February 10, 2018

This week a group of Dominican homeowners participated in a neighborhood wildfire preparedness tour organized by Paul Minault of the Dominican FireWise Committee and led by Todd Lando, Coordinator of Firewise Marin. The tour went through backyards with the most challenging conditions, including steep slopes, dense trees, and multiple tree species. Todd explained how to manage trees and shrubs to create defensible space, protect vegetation from wildfire and “harden” the exterior of older homes to prevent ember intrusion, spot fires and the failure of windows and siding due to flames and heat. Pat Bignardi, Vegetation Management Specialist with the San Rafael Fire Department, participated with his advice in this “walk through.”

Our FireWise Committee will be organizing additional tours to educate Dominican residents on the steps they can take to protect their homes from catastrophic wildfire. Stay tuned for the next tour date.

Carabiner on gate

Emergency Evacuation Route for Dominican Heights

In the event of a fast moving wildfire, evacuating Black Canyon down one lane of Mountain View Avenue could be a life-threatening situation. There are approximately 274 homes in the canyon area, many of which are near the open space. The ability to move people out as quickly as possible is critical.

Dominican Heights residents have asked for a number of years to be able to evacuate the 105 homes (from Sienna up through Dominican Dr.) via the gate at the end of Sienna Way. This gate has been locked for years.

The gate is now unlocked, along with the chain link further down the path.

Carabiner on gate

While the trail gate (above) is on City property, the road beyond is private property until it reaches Linden Lane. We have agreement with San Rafael Fire Chief Christopher Gray and the property owner to unlock these barriers for emergency evacuation only.

The residents on Mountain View Ave and connecting streets will continue to evacuate down Mountain View Ave. to Grand.

How to Open Gate at End of Sienna Way

You might want to take a moment to stop by and look at the gate. The gate is closed with a 4” carabiner (see photo above). To open, simply push in the side segment (see below) and weave the carabiner out of the gate latch. The gate has been oiled and easily opens.

carabiner illustration

Further down the path is a chain strewn between two wood posts. The chain now sits on a hook on the right hand post. Just unhook it.

Chain link on hook

Emergency Only

It is important that everyone know this exit route is available, but also respect that this is private property and, in no instance, use this route for anything other than emergency evacuation.

When to Evacuate

In the event of a wildfire, is recommended that you evacuate as soon as possible. If you wait for a mandatory evacuation message from the first responders, it may be difficult for you to get out.


It is possible in an evacuation that taking this route will not be the safest exit. Follow the directions of first responders at all times.

You can learn more about how to prepare for an evacuation on Cal Fire’s website:

If you have questions or comments, send an email to