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Residents Urged to Clear Defensible Space, Plan for Family Readiness

May 22, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – California has already seen 1,569 wildfires this year, about 500 more fires compared to the same period last year and 85 percent more fires than in an average year. With the long, hot and dangerous summer a real possibility, County Supervisor Dianne Jacob and public safety officials today urged residents to protect their homes against wildfires by creating a 100-foot buffer zone.

“Now is the time to prepare for what is shaping up as a tougher-than-usual fire season,” said Supervisor Jacob. “The firestorms of 2003 and 2007 taught us that homes with defensible space are far more likely to survive than homes without it.”

Defensible space is an area around the home where plants and trees are maintained to prevent fire from spreading quickly.  A buffer zone also gives firefighters a better chance to work in relative safety to protect property.

Fire officials on Tuesday announced several regional efforts to educate homeowners about defensible space. This Saturday, community volunteers and firefighters will be out in force in the San Miguel District hanging an easy-to-understand flyer on front doorknobs.

In rural communities serviced by CAL FIRE and the San Diego County Fire Authority, fire inspection teams have visited almost 6,000 properties in the last month, distributing educational materials and working with homeowners who haven’t yet cleared their properties. In addition, the County Fire Authority recently mailed about 4,000 informational letters to residents in rural communities.

Besides maintaining their properties, residents should take a few key steps to prepare for peak fire season, Supervisor Jacob said. This includes registering mobile phones with AlertSanDiego, the region’s reverse 911 system. The system contains all landline numbers, but to receive emergency notifications such as evacuation orders by mobile phone or email, people must register. They can do so at

Other key preparedness resources include:

  • SD Emergency: The County’s free mobile app, which alerts users with news updates, shelter locations, regional social media feeds and maps during an incident. It also helps residents prepare with interactive checklists and guidance to create a family disaster plan and assemble a 72-hour survival kit. Download it at
  • The County’s go-to website for comprehensive information and maps in the event of an emergency.
  • Residents can learn how to become a volunteer Fire Preventer. Educate a neighbor and save your home.

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