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New Interactive San Diego County Map Shows Disaster Risks

Firefighters battle the Jennings fire near Interstate 8 and Old Highway 80 in...

Credit: Cal Fire

Above: Firefighters battle the Jennings fire near Interstate 8 and Old Highway 80 in Lakeside, July 11, 2017.

San Diego County unveiled a new online tool on Monday to help San Diegans better prepare for wildfires and other natural disasters by allowing them to pinpoint the risks at their specific location.

“This innovative approach is to get ahead of the emergencies, and the timing couldn’t be better because soon we will be moving in to our peak wildfire season,” San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob said during a demonstration of the new online tool. “Know your hazards on your property where you live. Know the hazards where you are doing business.”

The “Know Your Hazards” map, developed by the County Office of Emergency Services, lets people type in their specific address to see the level of risk they face for earthquakes, flooding, tsunami hazards and wildfires.

Office of Emergency Services Director Holly Crawford said preparation is especially important because of the types of emergencies San Diego faces.

Video by Katie Schoolov

The county unveiled a new interactive online "Know Your Hazards" map that pinpoints disaster risks at your location.

“Almost all of our hazards are no-notice. Unlike the East Coast where you watch for days as a hurricane turns toward you, we don’t have that luxury,” Crawford explained. “The emergencies you could face at your home, you may have less than 15 minutes to evacuate.”

In case evacuation is necessary, County Fire Chief Tony Mecham urged people to have a pre-prepared emergency kit ready to grab to expedite the process. Mecham also urged people to plant appropriate vegetation around their homes if they live in a high-risk area.

“I’m very concerned about this fire season, that we’re coming out of six years of an extended drought, and that we had the rainfall this year that produced the fine, flashy fuels,” Mecham said.

The Jennings fire earlier this month burned 400 acres and caused evacuations. Peak fire season is not until September and October.

The county has spent more than $406 million since the 2003 Cedar Fire to improve its readiness for wildfires and evacuation procedures, but Mecham said that it still comes down to what individuals do to stay prepared.

“We can add hundreds and hundreds of fire engines, but until we get the individual and our community members to understand the threat and take some ownership of being their own advocate, we’re never going to eliminate this wildland fire threat in San Diego,” Mecham said.

Mecham and Supervisor Jacob urged people to sign up to receive emergency alerts on their mobile and landline phones. To encourage people to sign up, Rubio’s is giving out coupons for a free taco to everyone who registers by August 14. You can find alert registration and the new interactive map at ReadySanDiego.org.

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