On both the north and south sides of the mountain are a variety of suburban neighborhoods with single-family and multi-family homes. Additionally, these areas include prominent public and private institutions, including the Osher Marin Jewish Community Center, Glenwood Elementary School, Venetia Valley School, San Rafael High School, and Dominican University of California. Significant portions of these neighborhoods are designated as Wilderness Urban Interface Zones (WUI). This designation serves a variety of purposes, including highlighting significant risk of wildfire threat to structures.
Scotch and French Broom are invasive plant species that have flourished on the mountain for years. Largely unchecked, these plants have crowded out native species on large sections of the mountain, growing to over 6’ tall in some sections. During late summer and fall months, these plants dry out, becoming highly flammable. Additionally, because of their height and density, during wildfires these plants carry fire from the woodland floor up into the crown of the trees, leading to catastrophic fires. With persistent drought conditions in recent years and the potential for a long term trend toward dryer, hotter seasons, the broom adds significant risk of fires on the mountain becoming catastrophic, akin to those seen in recent years in Napa and Sonoma counties.