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October 31, 2015 (San Diego)--Not only are weather forecasters predicting the chance of showers next week, we’re also heading into our much-anticipated El Niño season — which could mean a lot more rainfall than we’ve seen for a long time.

That means this could be a great time to pick up some free sandbags to help you prepare. As it has for several years, the County of San Diego is offering free sand and bags to residents in unincorporated communities — but now at more places than ever before.

The County has added six new fire stations to its list, meaning residents can get sand and bags at 15 locations. More locations are scheduled to be added in the coming weeks.

Just bring a shovel and you’ll be good to go. Because the entire state has been dealing with a historic drought, the increased rains that El Niño is expected to bring could also mean increased risks of flooding and soil erosion — especially in places that are not covered by lawns, trees, shrubs and plants.

Water runoff, mud and debris that are swept downstream by rains can damage homes, clog storm drains and culverts and flood and damage roadways. If people have slopes on their properties, they can use mulch or terrace the slopes and plant groundcovers and shrubs to keep them from eroding.

As potential El Niño rains approach, the County has put together numerous recommendations for how people can prepare, including: looking around their properties to see if they are in flood-prone areas or near a hillsides with little or dead vegetation that could allow erosion; checking the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s resources People can also check our “How to Be El Niño Ready” story on the County News Center.

The locations to get free sand and bags are:

  • Alpine Fire Protection District, Station 17, 1364 Tavern Road (Bags ONLY)  
  • Bonita/Sunnyside Fire Department, 4900 Bonita Road                      
  • Boulevard Fire and Rescue, 40080 Ribbonwood Road                     
  • De Luz: CAL FIRE Station 16, 39431 DeLuz Road                                 
  • De Luz: De Luz Volunteer Fire Department Station 18, 39524 Daily Road    
  • Dulzura: CAL FIRE Station 30, 17304 Highway 94                      
  • El Cajon: San Miguel Fire Department Station 28, 1811 Sunset Blvd.           
  • Fallbrook: North County Fire Protection District, Station 4, 4375 Pala Mesa Drive
  • Julian: CAL FIRE Station 50, 1587 Highway 78, Julian                          
  • Palomar Mountain: Palomar Mountain Fire Department Station 79, 21610 Crestline Road
  • Pauma Valley-Rincon: CAL FIRE Station 70, 16971 Highway 76                    
  • Ramona: CAL FIRE Station 81, 24462 San Vicente Road                              
  • Ramona: CAL FIRE Station 82, 3410 Dye Road                        
  • Valley Center: CAL FIRE Station 73, 28205 North Lake Wohlford Road         
  • Warner Springs:  Sunshine Summit Volunteer Fire Department Station 59, 35227 Hwy 79.

For more information, check the County Department of Public Works’ Storm and Road Events update Web page; the County Office of Emergency Services Flooding Preparedness Facts and Resource Web page; and


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