MOFD Recognizes Wilder as Shelter-in-Place Community

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(S.K. Gupta, Photographer)
Orinda’s Wilder homes nestled in the old Gateway Valley, as seen from Hank’s Hill. Over 200 of the 245 homes are completed and occupied.

    Years of planning and execution at Orinda’s new subdivision, Wilder, has resulted in it being recognized as a Shelter-in-Place community. Wilder is the first community outside of Rancho Santa Fe, in San Diego County, to get this designation.
    On March 16, Resolution 22-09 was adopted: “A Resolution of the Board of Directors of the Moraga-Orinda Fire Protection District of Contra Costa County Recognizing the Wilder Subdivision as a Shelter-In-Place Community.”
    The Shelter-in-Place designation is recognized by California’s Department of Insurance as part of its ‘Safer from Wildfires’ framework. Moraga-Orinda Fire District (MOFD) Fire Marshal Jeff Isaacs researched and recommended seeking this designation.
    “The ember resistant construction, road widths, maintenance of vegetation and other design improvements, will greatly reduce the probability of wildfire loss in Wilder,” said Isaacs.
    Wilder has been a certified FireWise community since 2019, and the new community designation builds on its work to get and stay FireWise certified annually. Wilder is a member of the Orinda FireWise Council, led by Melanie Light.
    The MOFD resolution recognizes, in addition to being a planned development, every home in Wilder was built to ember-resistant standards identified in Chapter 7A of the California Building Code. Additionally, the community has a Wildfire Hazard Assessment Plan (WHAP), which identifies vegetation management measures and greatly increases the odds of Wilder homes surviving a fire.
    When completed, Wilder will have 245 homes nestled in what was once called the Gateway Valley.
    As per the Department of Insurance website, a number of insurance companies are encouraging Californians to harden their homes by offering premium discounts. Currently, 13 insurance companies, representing 40% of the California marketplace, offer discounts for safer homes and communities, including those with FireWise certifications or Shelter-in-Place designations.
    Many more insurance companies have also expressed interest. The full list is available on the CDI website: https://bit.ly/37xsfTb.
    Fire Chief Dave Winnacker, however, who presented the resolution to the MOFD Board, offers caution to residents: “Wilder residents must be prepared to evacuate in case of a wildfire, and early evacuation is highly recommended,” he said. “Preparing for wildfires before they happen is the best defense against the flames.”
    Wilder resident and HOA Board President Scott Honeychurch added, “We appreciate the partnership with MOFD to keep our residents and property safe.”

S. K Gupta can be reached at sk.gupta.us@gmail.com.

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