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CMFD Participating in Scientific Study of Mulch Flammability

Mulch Flammability Study in Marin Mulch Flammability Study in Marin

A coalition of agencies, industries, and scientific organizations have partnered to conduct a scientific study to evaluate the relative flammability of various mulch products sold in Marin.  Choosing the right mulch in wildfire prone areas is important. Some mulches can ignite and spread fire quickly.  Others are less easily ignited and take longer to burn.  Questions about the safety of various types of mulch are some of the most common questions referred to Fire Safe Marin.  Until now, there has been a lack of scientific data to compare various mulch products.

Mulch products have been separated into piles and placed in the field next to the Marin County Fire Department headquarters in San Geronimo.  The product will dry and weather for approximately four months to simulate the condition of mulch found in Marin yards and landscapes.  In the fall of 2023, the plots will be burned.  Marin County Fire Department firefighters will be on scene to ensure safety.  Instruments will be used to measure flame length, rate of flame spread and radiant heat.

This study will enable residents to make informed decisions about the use of fire resistant mulch products.   

The following organizations and agencies are participating in this study:  

  • Cal Poly Humboldt
  • Central Marin Fire Department
  • County of Marin
  • Fire Safe Marin
  • Marin Wildfire Prevention Authority 
  • Ron Alexander & Associates
  • UC Cooperative Extension
  • UCCE Marin Master Gardeners
  • UCCE Humboldt/Del Norte
  • University of California Berkeley
  • UL Research Institute
  • USDA Forest Service Missoula Fire Science Laboratory
  • West Marin Compost
  • Z-Best