Fire Prevention: How Homeowners Need to Get Ready for MOFD Inspections

(Melanie Light, Photographer)
The result of a weekend of work – trimming trees and removing dead wood – is ready to be chipped and hauled away on La Cuesta.

    The sound of chainsaws and weed wackers ringing through Orinda streets and canyons signals people are spending days at home preparing for fire season, which is almost upon us.
    As you clean out gutters, sweep dead leaves off the roof, and clear out property to get it ready for summer, there are several great resources to meet the June 15 deadline for inspections by the Moraga-Orinda Fire District (MOFD).
    Some of the most combustible plants everyone should eliminate are bamboo, juniper, any kind of broom and rosemary. For tips on fire-resistant landscaping, go to the Firesafe Marin site (
    MOFD has videos on how to manage trees and bushes. Go to
    For information on the fire department’s chipper program, call 925-258-4525.
    The real trick is to find plants that are both firewise and deer proof. A quick call to your favorite local nursery can help.
    The key to effective wildfire prevention is to remember everyone has to do their share. A firestorm spreads like a pandemic – to prevent harm to your neighbors, your own home needs to be fire safe.
    While it may be impossible to reach that goal for every home in Orinda, we are only as safe as our active fuel mitigation efforts. A great resource for that is the Firewise program, a community organizing program in which neighborhoods form themselves into Firewise groups.
    In Orinda, those groups have organized into an all-Orinda Firewise Council which has been advocating to the City Council and MOFD for more funding on wildfire prevention through a petition, letters and meetings.
    As a group, you can get discounts on landscaping because of the volume of work, educate and support each other and possibly, benefit when your homeowner’s insurance renews. Plus, it is more fun and easier to do in a group.
    The process of becoming a Firewise community is not hard and both the MOFD and the Orinda Firewise Council can help you through the process. Check out the steps on the MOFD website Firewise page and contact Joyce Arnon of the citizen-based Orinda Firewise Council Membership Committee at

    Melanie Light is chair of the Orinda Firewise Council. She can be reached at

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