As part of Malibu’s ongoing efforts toward community-wide wildfire preparedness, and with the appointment of Chris Brossard as the new Fire Safety Liaison, the City continues to offer its no-cost Home Ignition Zone Assessment Program to help residents harden their homes against flying embers, a major cause of homes igniting during wildfires.
During the County and State novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic stay-at-home orders, the service is provided by a single staff member, using personal protective equipment (PPE) and maintaining physical distancing to help slow the spread of the coronavirus and protect vulnerable people.
“Wildfires don’t stay home during the pandemic, and our next big fire is always around the corner, so we need to continue to do everything possible to enhance wildfire preparedness in the community,” said Mayor Mikke Pierson. “I am proud that the City is able to continue offering this incredibly valuable service for our community and I encourage all homeowners to contact Fire Safety Liaison Chris Brossard so they can better protect their home and family.”
During wind-driven wildfires such as the Woolsey Fire, powerful, sustained winds can send burning embers traveling up to a few miles ahead of the fire front. According to fire behavior experts, more than 50% of homes lost during a wildfire catch fire due to flying embers, not direct flame contact or radiant heat. That means that all homes in Malibu are vulnerable.
The City’s first Fire Safety Liaison Jerry Vandermeulen, started offering this service for residents in 2019. The City’s new Fire Safety Liaison, Chris Brossard, hired in March 2021, will continue and expand upon this program to assist all Malibu residents enhance their wildfire preparedness
Chris is an experienced former wildlands firefighter with the National Forest Service, and is trained in identifying specific areas that wildfire embers can find receptive fuels in and around a home. He will inspect your home and make recommendations on how to make it more fire resistant. There are simple and often inexpensive ways to make homes safer from wildfire, including modifying landscaping around the home, sealing eaves, and moving flammable materials away from structures.
More than 200 homeowners throughout the City of Malibu and surrounding areas have received fire hardening home assessments since the City launched the program in August 2019.
Brossard is also available to meet with individuals, business owners, homeowners associations, or multifamily residential property owners or managers to offer guidance on brush clearance and home hardening. He can also explain how to monitor wildfire conditions, how to use Pulsepoint and other tools to maintain good situational awareness well in advance of a wildfire, and how to prepare emergency and evacuation plans and supply kits.
To schedule an appointment, visit https://www.malibucity.org/FireSafety and click on the “Online Scheduling System” or contact Chris Brossard at 310-456-2489, ext. 387 or FireSafety@malibucity.org.
For additional wildfire preparedness information, visit the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Ready, Set, Go program at https://fire.lacounty.gov/ready-set-go.pdf.
Submitted by Matt Myerhoff