Southern Marin Fire Protection District is an independent special district established by the Marin County Board of Supervisors in July of 1999. The District was formed by the merger of the Alto-Richardson Fire Protection District and the Tamalpais Fire Protection District.
On June 26, 2012, the City of Sausalito Fire Department was annexed into the fire District. In October of 2010 the District signed a contract with the National Park Service to provide services to the Marin Headlands and Fort Baker areas of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
The District has 52 full time employees including a Deputy Fire Chief, 2 Battalion Chiefs, a Deputy Fire Marshal, 9 Fire Captains, 18 Paramedic Engineers, 18 Engineers, 3 administrative staff and 1 part-time Fire Inspector. In the spring of 2015, through an operational cost-sharing agreement we have begun integrating administrative responsibilities with the City of Mill Valley Fire Department. This allows us to reduce administrative duplicity and create a single shared Training Division.
Our operational service area is divided into three zones. Zone 1 – City of Sausalito, G.G.N.R.A. Headlands, Zone 4 – Tamalpais Valley and Homestead Valley and Zone 9 – Alto / Strawberry Area. Each of this zones is protected by one type I engine with each of the zones cross-staffing at least one specialty piece of equipment such as a Rescue, Fire Boat and Ladder Truck.
Zone 1 is a small coastal town with most of the residential structures built on the hillsides from just above sea level to the top of Wolfback Ridge which reaches up to about 1,120 feet. The wildland urban interface lays approximately within the 450 foot to 1,120 foot elevation line. It consists of close proximity housing with irrigated landscaping punctuated by small jack pots of Eucalyptus stands with deep duff layers, Oak Woodlands with some Sudden Oak Death fuel loading, deep undeveloped canyon areas filled with Bay trees and then large patches of coastal chaparrals in the higher elevations mostly extending from the 750 foot elevation line to the ridgetop at 1,120 feet. The City of Sausalito is bisected by the U.S. 101 freeway that runs adjacent to the City of Sausalito boundary. The Wolfback Ridge Homeowners development is on the west side of the freeway and is unincorporated. The remainder of zone 1 lies in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and is structurally protected by contract by our Fire District.
Zone 4 is a rural type of suburb consisting of mostly single family dwellings built in and upon the coastal mountain range. There is a few small portions, about 5%, that resides on the valley floor. It has a very small commercial area on the valley floor in Tamalpais Valley. This zone is split into essentially two parts: Tamalpais Valley and Homestead Valley. The division between the two valleys is the sharp mountain range running from west to east that divides these two communities although the area is still built out with very large single family dwellings and a few schools. The fuels in these areas are mostly Oak woodland, Bay stands in the deep canyons, Eucalyptus stands with heavy downed material, and between most of the home parcels are sporadically planted or volunteer pine trees with thick beds of needle cast some of which is overgrown with black berry patches and annual grasses. On the perimeter of most of zone 4 lays portions of untreated Golden Gate National Recreation Area consisting of coastal chaparrals and numerous stands of Eucalyptus stands that have not been maintained.
Zone 9 is a residential community consisting of the Strawberry Area, the Alto Bowl and the newer part of the zone that we call the Black Field area. There is a very large commercial area in this zone that also runs parallel to US Highway 101. The commercial area has a variety of businesses such as Safeway Food Store, Porsche of Marin, Chevron and it also is the home of the Golden Gate Baptist Seminary which is 148 acres. This large chunk of land has many residential and commercial buildings on it but are generally separated by large expanses of open grass lands dotted with large Pine trees of which many of them are maintained. The other part of the zone touches the Ring Mountain Open Space area which is predominantly un-grazed grass lands that directly abut the residential area. The homes in this area are mostly Mediterranean style with stucco siding and tile roofs. A large portion of this area is built on the hillsides as well but the streets are much wider and newer.