Fire Officials Urge Fire Season Preparedness
Friday, May 3, 2013
Aired 5/6/13 on KPBS News.
San Diego Fire Department officials are warning homeowners to prepare for what could be a difficult fire season.
San Diego Fire Department officials are warning homeowners to prepare for what could a difficult fire season.
As temperatures rise and winds pick up, the risk for devastating fires also increases. Officials reminded homeowners today during a news conference to be prepared by creating a defensible space around their properties and come with an evacuation plan for the family just in case.
"The more you can do to protect your home, the more we can do to provide that last 10 percent of defensible space," said SDFD Chief Javier Mainar. "But we can't do it without you."
Nearly six years ago, half a million county residents were ordered from their homes during the Witch Creek and Harris fires in 2007. Though it's been several years since damage of that magnitude struck the county in the form of fires, officials want everyone to be prepared if it happens again.
That includes created 100 feet of defensible space around properties, clearing dead trees and shrubs and replacing them with fire-resistant plants.
"The reality is, firefighters and government can only do so much," said Scott Walker, interim director for the Burn Institute. "Just by creating defensible space, you increase the odds by 90 percent that your home will survive the next wildfire."
Officials are so serious about the threat of wildfires that they will charge homeowners for not preparing their properties for the upcoming season if, after about six weeks, there is no compliance with the 100-foot defensible space rule.
"If we come out a third time because you haven't done so, then we start to charge $300 for subsequent inspections," Mainar said. "We also involve the city attorney's office to insure we gain compliance."
For more on how to prepare your home for a wildfire, visit the Burn Institute's website at www.burninstitute.org.