Firewise – May 2023


Meet Marc Evans, New Community Leader

    The Orinda Firewise Council (OFC) is fortunate to have Marc Evans as its new chairperson. In 2005 he and his wife Karen, a pediatrician, chose to move to Orinda as it was the midpoint between their commutes.
    Karen worked at Kaiser in Walnut Creek and Marc at Chevron in Richmond as a technical manager. They were also excited to send their four children to the public schools here. All are now out in the world and adulting well.
    Evans worked as a technical manager for Chevron in Kazakhstan during his last nine years with the company, rotating every three months with his job partner. He retired in 2020, having left Kazakhstan on the last flight before the pandemic shut down air travel.
    With lots of time suddenly on his hands, he decided to work for a year as a construction manager.
    Meanwhile, neighbor Christine Hilsinger became aware of the Firewise program at one of Moraga Orinda Fire Department (MOFD) Chief Winnacker’s presentations. In April 2020, Evans and Hilsinger joined their neighborhood email coordinator, Carol Alvord, to form the Monte Vista Firewise group.
    A natural organizer, Evans got involved with efforts to clear out the excess vegetation. He met neighbors, who lived there for years, for the first time and really enjoyed it after having been cut off from his community due to work.
    One of those neighbors, Rick Trapp, made a map of the homes on Monte Vista, which was used to create subgroups for better self-organization. Having success with their neighborhood, Evans and Hilsinger took the Fire Adapted Community Ambassador (FAC-A) training in 2021. They reached out to every resident in their Firewise group offering free assessments for wildfire prevention.
    As a FAC-A, Evans did assessments outside his Firewise group. One was for Paula Reinman, a commissioner for the Measure R funds. Her neighborhood is adjacent to Evans’ and together, they formed a much bigger group.
    The construction gig ended last spring and Evans had to give up the truck. By now he was obsessed with the potential for transforming Orinda into a wildfire adapted community.
    Evans agreed, as a volunteer, to take over the Orinda Firewise Council. He has created a five-year road map for the purpose and priorities of the OFC, partnering with the city and MOFD. He would like to work with Moraga and Lafayette as they begin to organize around Firewise. His vision extends to Richmond and El Sobrante, where he is helping residents form Firewise groups. He is solidly committed to making our region safe.

Melanie Light can be reached at

(Melanie Light, Photographer)
Long time Orinda resident, Marc Evans, is the new chair of the Orinda Firewise Council.

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