Sausalito and the North Bay Fires
Air conditions in Sausalito can change rapidly depending on wind and weather patterns. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has extended its health warning through the weekend and is advising residents to take the following precautions:
- Reduce exposure to smoky air by remaining indoors with windows and doors closed, if possible and if safe
- Limit outdoor activities to avoid unnecessary exposure if you smell smoke
- Set air conditioning units and car vent systems to recirculate to prevent outside air from moving inside
- Stay tuned to local media for changes in smoke or weather conditions
Elderly persons, children, and individuals with respiratory illnesses are particularly susceptible to elevated air pollution levels and should take extra precautions to avoid exposure.
People in heavy smoke-impacted areas that must remain in the area should, at minimum, use an N95 mask to help minimize breathing fine particles. N95 masks, when used properly, help filter fine particulates in wildfire smoke. Users should read and follow the manufacturer's directions carefully when using an N95 mask to maximize effectiveness.How We Can Help
Sausalito residents have already been helping by providing supplies to evacuation shelters in Marin. At this time, there is no need for additional supplies at the Marin County Emergency Volunteer Center, but it is likely that shelters will run low on essential items if the crisis continues. The City of Sausalito will post updates on our website and on social media advising residents of county and municipal requests for emergency supplies.
We are also helping by lending the support of our public safety personnel. Southern Marin Fire District firefighters and paramedics have been deployed to the North Bay. City of Sausalito police officers are contributing to a security detail in the region as part of a Marin County law enforcement team. The deployments will not affect Sausalito's public safety. Our police and fire departments remain fully staffed and prepared to address local emergencies.
Another way we can help is by making financial contributions in support of disaster relief. A list of charitable funds and organizations that are assisting with disaster response and recovery is available on the City website.
For those interested in volunteering, the Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership (CVNL) is overseeing volunteers and donations for Marin County. Update: As of 3:00 p.m. on Friday, CVNL says they not taking any more volunteer sign-ups. More information is available on their Emergency Volunteer Center webpage. CVNL is also participating in a collaborative and unofficial North Bay Fire Donation and Volunteer Information page for the most current information about volunteering in the region.
Preparing for Disaster
Sausalito residents can also do their part to prevent and prepare for a catastrophic fire. An essential element in wildfire prevention is defensible space, the buffer between a house and the grass, trees, shrubs, or wildland area that surrounds it. This space is needed to slow or stop the spread of wildfire and protect the house from catching fire – either from direct flames or radiant heat exposure. The Southern Marin Fire Protection District recommends taking the following precautions in the area surrounding your house:
- Remove all dead leaves, plants, grass, and weeds
- Remove dead or dry leaves and pine needles from the roof and gutters
- Trim trees regularly to keep branches a minimum of 10 feet from other trees
- Remove branches that hang over a roof and keep dead branches 10 feet from chimneys
- Move woodpiles away from the house
- Remove or prune flammable plants and shrubs near windows
- Remove vegetation and items that could catch fire from around and under decks, and from under roof overhangs and canopies
- Create a separation between trees, shrubs, and items that could catch fire, such as patio furniture and swing sets
- Cut or mow grass down to a maximum height of 4 inches
- Basic personal hygiene items for all family members
- Extra eyeglasses
- Special items for infants, elderly, or disabled family members
- Flashlight, battery-operated radio, extra batteries, and an extra cell phone charger
- Safety goggles, cotton gloves, and a dust mask for each family member to protect against smoke and heat in case of evacuating during a large fire
- One change of clothes for each family member (focus on socks and underwear first)
- Pet leash and/or carrying box and a small amount of pet food
- List of important phone numbers, including your designated out-of-area contact
- Emergency contact cards for each member of the family
- A home evacuation checklist with steps to take (if time allows) to give your home the best chance of surviving a wildfire
- A list of irreplaceable possessions that you will take if you have time to evacuate via a vehicle – you will collect these items just before leaving your house
If you have any questions or concerns about the North Bay fires, or about preparing for a disaster, please contact the Sausalito Police Department at (415) 289-4170.