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Wildfire home standards could save Tiburon Peninsula residents cash

Clockwise from left are Tiburon Superintendent of Public Works Patrick Kerslake and Tiburon Fire Protection District Fire Marshal Mike Lantier, with Robert Brown, Sarah Phillips, Suzanne Kim and Anne Libbin as the group met in October about fire safety for the Mateo Drive Homeowners Association. The association is working on becoming the Tiburon Peninsula’s fourth certified Firewise USA community. (Jon Larson photo)

Residents of Tiburon Peninsula neighborhoods that have taken communitywide steps to harden their homes against wildfires — such as having a resistant roof, at least 5 feet of defensible space and a clearly defined evacuation route — could be eligible for insurance discounts under new California safety standards.

The “Safer From Wildfire” initiative announced last month by state Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara creates a defined three-pronged baseline for wildfire resilience that’s meant to encourage communities to protect themselves and insurance companies to offer discounts to those that do.

One prong of the state initiative is participation in a recognized community fire-safety program, such as Firewise USA, a national program that started in 2002 and offers certification to communities that work with local fire officials to create a multiyear action plan to fire-harden their homes.

The peninsula has three certified Firewise communities: the Upper Sugarloaf neighborhood that abuts the Old St. Hilary’s and Tiburon Uplands preserves, the Harbor Hill Homeowners Association below the Old St. Hilary’s preserve and the De Silva Island Homeowners Association in Strawberry. A fourth community — the Mateo Drive Homeowners Association in Tiburon, which sits above Paradise Drive near Tiburon open space and the Ring Mountain Open Space Preserve — is currently working on getting certified and hopes to complete the process by June.

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