Dear Lucas Valley Neighbors, THANK YOU! You and our Lucas Valley community made the 10/22 evacuation practice a success! We far exceeded the participation expectations of the Office of Emergency Management. Our turnout was one of the best ever in Marin. Over 22% of the 1,185 homes in Lucas Valley joined the practice. BUT, success due to participation does not mean that the practice went smoothly. The success of this practice meant that enough people joined to expose challenges and highlight opportunities to make improvements. Success also means that more residents in the Valley are familiar with how to evacuate and are better prepared. For example, this practice helped Rotary Valley Senior Village get better organized as a community.
Participation by neighborhood
Below are some of the key learnings from the practice and the follow-up survey that was completed by over half of the participants:
Without traffic direction assistance and more evacuation lanes/routes, it will take an unacceptable amount of time to reach safety in our cars.
Even with improved traffic direction and road capacity, our current valley population will be challenged to evacuate efficiently. Additional housing development in Lucas Valley will necessitate further wildfire safety measures, changes in infrastructure capacity, and evacuation route improvements.
Existing emergency communication systems need improvement. Residents in Lucas Valley Estates did not receive the AlertMarin texts, and many residents elsewhere had challenges with cell service quality.
Some survey respondents, after sitting in stopped traffic and imagining a real wildfire crisis, noted the amount of combustible plantings that surround us. We need to increase our commitment to reducing the hazardous vegetation in our neighborhoods and along evacuation routes.
We need additional improved evacuation practices. A better test of our wildfire evacuation strategies would include:
Higher percentage of participation
Simulation of how children would be picked up at the schools
Access to all available evacuation routes
More involvement by all of our emergency services agencies.
Given the level of congestion during the practice, we want to underscore the importance for individual residents to plan, prepare and take Red Flag days more seriously. Our shared responsibility on these days is to be prepared to evacuate and take other precautionary steps to prepare our homes. Please see our 10/28 newsletter for steps to take during a Red Flag Day. Further, consider making plans outside the Valley as a preemptive step. IF more of us are already elsewhere or are ready to leave within moments of an evacuation order, it greatly reduces the congestion on Lucas Valley Road in the event of a real wildfire. When we ALL prepare, we All are safer. We hope you will read the following reports with further details: Summary Report of the Evacuation Practice Video showing stopped traffic on Lucas Valley Road Evacuation FAQs
Graph Summarizing Survey Feedback - 169 respondents
The Lucas Valley For Responsible Growth team will have follow-up conversations with the Fire Services and Office of Emergency Management representatives, and District 1 Supervisor Mary Sackett. We will be advocating for commitments on how to improve our preparedness. We will report back to all of you with actions we can take together to protect ourselves, our neighbors, and our community from the growing threat of wildfire. It will take engaged public officials AND members of the Lucas Valley community embracing their personal responsibilities to improve wildfire safety in our lovely valley. ~ The LVFRG Team - Kelby, Gervais, Ginny, Meehyun, Susan, Kristen, Marge and Janet
About Lucas Valley for Responsible Growth Lucas Valley for Responsible Growth (LVFRG) is a group of local residents who have come together in response to shared concerns about development decisions related to Marin County’s requirement to increase the amount of affordable housing (Marin's Housing Element for 2023 - 2031). Numerous sites are being developed for housing growth and/or are identified for the potential addition of affordable housing within Lucas Valley. LVFRG supports the development of more affordable housing in our community if it can be accomplished in a manner that is safely supportable with the infrastructure, is commensurate with growth in other parts of Marin, preserves the highly-utilized Lucas Valley Park, and the rich wildlife it supports. Our mission is to engage with community members and elected officials to promote responsible planning decisions in Lucas Valley and ensure that Lucas Valley continues to offer a safe, high quality of life for current and future residents. Please help us grow our base of supporters by sharing our website, lvfrg.org, with your friends and neighbors and asking them to sign the petition on the homepage. More petitioners means more local influence and a better outcome for Lucas Valley! Thanks so much for your support!