How massive wildfire break around this Bay Area city could protect thousands of homes

ByCornell Barnard KGO logo
Monday, May 8, 2023
Massive wildfire 'buffer zone' to be created around Novato
Massive wildfire break to be created around Novato in an effort to protect thousands of homes in Marin County.

NOVATO, Calif. (KGO) -- In the North Bay, work is about to start on one of the largest wildfire prevention projects in Marin County history. Imagine creating a massive fire break or buffer zone around one city. That's the goal in Novato where thousands of homes could soon be protected.

Novato Fire Chief Bill Tyler showed ABC7 News how the next major wildfire could be stopped thanks to the biggest buffer zone, the North Bay has likely ever seen.

"Fires are bigger, they're burning longer and more destructive than ever, it's incumbent for agencies to work together to try and protect these communities," Chief Tyler said.

VIDEO: What will CA's wildfire season look like? Here's when it's expected to peak, what to know

California's 2023 wildfire season expected to be average despite barrage of atmospheric rivers, will peak for Northern CA in August into September.

Novato Fire District and other agencies are partnering with the Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority to create a giant shaded fuel break, or fire safety zone around the entire city.

The project is not only ambitious but also massive. Creating fuel breaks 200-300 feet wide, stretching 60 miles around the city.

"We decrease the rate of spread, we decrease the intensity, we give our residents more time to evacuate and we give our firefighters a chance to put the fire out," said Mark Brown Executive Director of Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority.

The 5-year, $8 million project could begin this summer.

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