By Don Ford

MILL VALLEY (KPIX) — In Mill Valley, fire prevention has a high priority. The city council just passed an ordinance requiring homeowners to take more measures to protect their homes against fire. This time, though, not everybody is on board with the plan.

“People move to Mill Valley because they love to live in the forest and the fuel has never been this dense … because, prior to the early 20’s, Mill Valley used to burn every few years,” explained Mill Valley fire battalion chief Michael St. John.

The new ordinance requires homeowners to remove vegetation that burns easily and hot. Bamboo, acacia and junipers will not be allowed near structures. A three-foot ring of dirt, stone paving or brick must surround houses.

“I think it’s going to be a culture change but it’s one that’s going to be required,” said Chief St. John

Homeowner Stoney Fritz is opposed.

“It’s going to be very expensive and most people don’t understand how excessive it’s going to be and how much they’ll have to cut out of their yards. Mill Valley will never be the same,” Fritz said.

The new ordinance isn’t quite law yet. The second and final reading of it before the city council isn’t until September. The ordinance is expected to pass and would go into effect in 2021.

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