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Start a New Fire Safe Council

Neighborhood Fire Safe Councils (NFSCs) are a foundation for fire preparedness in our communities, and one of the primary goals of the Mendocino County Fire Safe Council is to encourage every neighborhood in the county to develop their own. Neighborhood councils are what their dedicated leaders make them, meeting local needs with the energy and resources they have available. Our far-flung communities are incredibly diverse, and neighborhood councils reflect that diversity.

Being one of our affiliated NFSCs is a great way to help us show off how committed Mendocino is to helping itself and working to mitigate fire risks, which then helps attract more funding and support for our area.  Benefits for starting your own NFSC include:

  – access to one day accident insurance for fuels reduction work days,

– discount rates is you opt to start your own automated emergency alert system,

–  MCFSC newsletters and invitations to our NFSC leadership meetings,

–  getting the scoop about and priority access to training and other opportunities like community chipper days,

 – the potential for the MCFSC to act as a fiscal sponsor, and more.

And … it does not cost anything.   Any group organizing around fire preparedness in their community is free to call themselves a Fire Safe Council. We appreciate it when participants in our affiliated neighborhood groups choose become MCFSC dues-paying members, but it is not required.

All you need to do to start your neighborhood group is to fill in the Fire Safe Council Information Form, below, so that we know who you are and how to contact you. We also request that you drop a pin indicating your location and other information you wish to share publicly, on our Existing Councils page.

How involved your group gets in the myriad things a NFSC can tackle is entirely up to you.   A NFSC might simply get neighbors together periodically to discuss and share wildfire safety preparation tips or to hear from a local authority.  Or, your NFSC might choose to do more and tackle projects like:

  – organizing a manual or automated neighborhood phone tree to help make sure that everyone gets critical emergency information,

– mapping neighborhood fire hazards gas shut-off locations,

– organizing clean-up days for neighborhood access routes or to assist neighbors in need,

– creating escape route maps based on different potential fire directions and identify potential safe haven locations in the neighborhood,

– help each other assess improvements to home defensible space,

– identify other critical needs such as improved emergency water access, or

 – help document larger fuels reduction projects that require grant funding support.

NFSCs really are what their leaders make them, their processes, structures and goals vary considerably. The Fire Safe Council Handbook, from the California Fire Safe Council, offers some suggestions and guidance for reaching out and organizing your neighbors as a new council. Please take a look at the handbook, begin talking to your neighbors, and contact the Mendocino County Fire Safe Council for further assistance.


When you are ready to launch please fill out the Fire Safe Council Info Formation below and send it to us, so that we know who you are, what you aim to accomplish, and how we can best contact you.

Thinking Through When and How to Evacuate or Stay in Place

The video below presented by Colin Wilson, former Anderson Valley Fire Chief, presents some basic information about fire behavior with the goal of helping you think through when and how to evacuate and when to consider sheltering in place.  Please watch and consider...

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Surviving a wildfire also depends on knowing when one is coming you way as soon in advance as possible. According to the County OES MendoAlert is their primary means of providing notification. You can register to receive MendoAlerts via one or more ways such as text...

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“Defensible Space” and “Survivability”

Almost all vegetation will burn in severe conditions. But if you take wise actions about the plants around your home, you will greatly improve your property’s chances of surviving. Does this mean cutting down all the trees and bushes near your house? No. Wildfire...

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In a large wildfire, firefighters from other counties may be assigned to your area. They will not know you or where your home is. There will not be enough fire engines to defend each home. In these situations firefighters must make quick decisions based on what they...

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In a wildfire, everyone may not be able to evacuate the burning area. If there’s only one road in and out for your home or subdivision: • the road will probably be overloaded with traffic trying to evacuate • numerous fire engines, water tankers, and bulldozers will...

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Fire Resources for Managing your Land

Helpful Information for All Properties:   Step 1 to Fire Recovery Post Fire Restoration Dos and Donts (pdf) Returning After a Fire Checklist (pdf) After the Fire – Preparing for Winter Preparing for Winter (pdf) Prevent Soil Erosion (pdf) Straw Mulching (pdf)...

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Funding Sources

Looking for help funding fuels management or other fire preparedness projects? Finding and securing funding is a complicated and ever-changing process. Here are few suggestions: •             Organize your neighborhood as a Fire Safe Council, then put together a...

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Important Facts About How Homes Burn

Homes are much more likely to burn due to small flying embers than to contact by large flames. Pushed by wind, embers often get inside attic vents and ignite homes from the inside. Sometimes those fires aren’t visible from outside for hours after the main fire passes....

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Invasive Weeds

Invasive Weeds Invasive weeds are non-native plants. These weeds displace native vegetation that wildlife depends on. They also harbor pests, reduce crop yields, and increase soil erosion, fire danger, and flood risks. Californians spend $85 million a year on invasive...

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Large Animal Rescue

Large Animal Rescue is a method of training used by emergency responders (especially firefighters) to extricate an animal from mechanical or natural entrapment. LAR training teaches how safely work with large, possibly injured animals; and how to keep the animals...

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Developing Water Supplies for Fire Protection

In rural Mendocino County water for fire suppression is often hard to come by. Many homes have thousands of gallons of water stored in tanks that can’t be used by the fire department because they lack the necessary fittings. Property owners involved in building new...

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Native Plants and the California Native Plant Society

What do native plants have to do with fire safety? Maintaining native plant diversity can promote fire safety in and around the home. Native plants are fire resilient, and native plant landscapes consume less water, which means more is available for suppression if the...

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Is your home water supply available for firefighting?

Is your home water supply available for firefighting?

Every year homes are lost to fire because water was not available for firefighters.; firefighters couldn’t access the water because the tanks lacked the correct fittings. Our full-color pamphlet , Developing Water Supplies for Fire Protection, describes how to...

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About Us

The Mendocino County Fire Safe Council, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit partnership of persons, agencies, and organizations seeking to help people, property, and resources survive and thrive in our wildfire-prone environment.

The Fire Safe Council does not seek to prevent all fires in wildland areas.  Instead, it seeks to help persons in wildland areas to prepare for wildfires that are inevitable.

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Mendocino County Fire Safe Council
410 Jones Street, Suite C-3
Ukiah, CA 95482