Case Study: How a California Community Beefed Up Wildfire Defenses

CodeWatcher Wildland Urban Interface California

When fire strikes, communities quickly learn which building codes to change to protect residents from the next fire.

“Six months after the North Bay fires, Mill Valley officials are taking strides to reduce the chances of wildfire from spreading into the city’s neighborhoods,” reports Adrian Rodriguez, Marin Independent Journal reporter, in his April 8 post, “Mill Valley Beefs Up Wildfire Defenses,”  “Part of that includes updating building codes for homes in the wildland-urban interface, a move that was unanimously endorsed by the City Council last week.

The proposal is one of six initiatives introduced by Mill Valley fire Chief Tom Welch in February designed to boost the city’s fire prevention and preparedness efforts. The building code change and ordinance amendment will require homes undergoing remodels to be built with modern fire-resistive materials. The rule applies to homes in the city’s wildland-urban interface, or WUI zone, where properties abut vegetation and the fire risk is the highest.


Welch said that the six-part plan that he proposed is a comprehensive approach that will fill in the gaps that fire officials learned were missing in the Sonoma and Napa fires. Read the full article to find out more about the plan. 

Related Resource: Design With Fire in Mind

Related Story: “California Rebuilds After Fires Without Updating Building Codes”