The numerous wildfires throughout Northern California and the smoke filled skies in Sonoma County during the summer of 2008 prompted Laura Tietz, a homeowner on Fitch Mountain in Healdsburg, California, to action. She started Fire Free Fitch, a grass roots movement to inform Fitch Mountain residents in Healdsburg, California, not only of the dangers from fires, but also of specific ways in which they can make their own property safer.
The Fitch Mountain area is one of the most densely populated high-fire zones in Sonoma County with about 900 homes according to Fire Chief Collins. In 1995 the Fitch Mountain area was classified as a High Fire Hazard Severity Zone by the California Department of Forestry. “One of the greatest concerns here at the Fire Department is if there’s a fire up there, it would have the potential to do more damage to the city than any other type of fire scenario I could imagine” stated Fire Chief Collins.
Identifying Parcel Maps
With the help of parcel maps, Fire Free Fitch is identifying all of the properties on Fitch Mountain. To date, 17 neighborhood groups have been established; each group has a member of the neighborhood who is a group contact person who hosts a neighborhood meeting. At this meeting, a local fire official meets with the group to discuss fire safety and then conducts a walk around the neighborhood to specifically note ways homeowners can make their home fire defensible. Fire Free Fitch will continue to form new groups.
Reflective Address Signs
Fire Free Fitch is currently preparing a program to encourage residents to install reflective house number signs to make it possible for emergency responders to locate their properties more quickly. An accurate and easily visible address is vital for rapidly locating a home or business in any emergency requiring law enforcement, fire, or ambulance services. Fill out the application to enroll (PDF).
For more information on FireFreeFitch, send an email to Fire Free Fitch, call 707-433-4111, or send a letter to:
1083 Vine Street #154
Healdsburg, CA 95448