Prepare for wildfires, officials say during Defensible Space Days kickoff

County Supervisor Dianne Jacob stresses the need for defensible space around homes on Friday.
County Supervisor Dianne Jacob stresses the need for defensible space around homes on Friday.

County Supervisors and public safety officials kicked off Defensible Space Days on Friday by urging residents to give their homes a fighting chance against wildfires by creating a 100-foot buffer zone.

“We lost thousands of homes in the 2003 and 2007 firestorms and learned that homes with defensible space are far more likely to survive than homes without it,” said Supervisor Dianne Jacob. “As we head into the hot, dry conditions of summer and fall, it’s imperative that residents get rid of fire hazards on their properties.”

“Wildfires can affect any area in our county, even urban and suburban areas, where many homes border canyons and open space,” added Supervisor Pam Slater-Price. “We need full participation.”

Defensible space is area around the home where plants and trees are maintained to prevent fire from spreading quickly, and ignitable items such as firewood and patio furniture are placed away from the home.

Friday through Sunday, participating fire agencies and community safety groups reinforced their efforts to inspect properties and educate homeowners on defensible space techniques, including what is required by law and local code.

On Friday, San Diego County Fire Authority Chief and CalFire Unit Chief Howard Windsor provided examples at the home of a Lakeside resident, who saw firsthand how proper maintenance protected his house as flames swept through his neighborhood during the 2003 firestorm.

“These techniques not only protect the home, but it creates a safe area for our local firefighters to do their jobs,” said Windsor.

Defensible Space Days were sponsored by the San Diego County Office of Emergency Services, San Diego County Fire Authority, CalFire and the Regional Fire Advisory Committee.

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