I’m lucky to live just across the Golden Gate Bridge, in Marin County. With forests, beaches, and a rugged coastline, the area is replete with public lands including the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Point Reyes National Seashore. The latter recently suffered a wildfire in the 2020 record-breaking California fires.

My family moved here last year from San Francisco, and after the large fires in 2017/2018 devastated regions of Northern CA’s Wine Country and the town of Paradise-I wrote about those fires and the imperative to regenerate mature forests here. Still, I told myself that we would be fine living in the so-called ‘wildland-urban interface’ because we are situated comfortably on the coast, where it is ‘always’ foggy and wet during the summer months and thus safe from fire. That myth evaporated when this year, the notoriously foggy and damp Point Reyes burned.

Mount Tamalpais Aerial View

Mount Tamalpais is visible from nearly anywhere in Marin. On its southside and enveloped by arm-like long ridges lies Muir Woods, one of the last remaining significant stands of old-growth Redwoods in the region. A few hundred years ago, much of the mountain was covered with these majestic trees creating a wall of fire-resistant forest (along with the greater central / northern California coastal region) stretching from ocean to bay and over 2000’ feet tall. Today, Mount Tam, as locals call it, is no longer lush with these giant trees to slow the advent of an eventual fire. So instead, the county has placed a fire company at the top of the ridge.

So where do we go from here? Easy answer—allow these forests a few generations (human) to regenerate to their pre-logged, fire-resistant heights. This simple albeit long haul solution will eventually reduce fire intensity dramatically, as well as support our current best tool to sequester—carbon-mature forests. Supporting folks like Save the Redwoods League is a good call too. Also avoiding deforestation (as well as the carbon-intensive materials that often replace wood) by using rapidly renewables instead to build our buildings, and products—enter natural composites like Ekoa!

Redwood Trees