Financial boost for fire prevention


The Fire Safe Council of San Diego County announced recently the awarding of a $175,000 CAL Fire County Coordinator Grant to educate, encourage, and develop county-wide collaboration and among the county’s various wildfire mitigation groups.

Priorities for the grant include building a census of all active wildfire mitigation groups in the county, developing mechanisms to improve outreach and coordination efforts, analyzing gaps in countywide wildfire resiliency and emergency preparedness, and developing recommendations to fill these needs on both a county and statewide level.

With the impacts of the Cedar Fire in 2003, the Fire Safe Council began promoting the development of community Fire Safe Councils with an emphasis on having Community Wildfire Protection Plans for each group.

“The Fire Safe Council of San Diego County’s role then shifted into a facilitator of communication, cooperation and collaboration. This effort is visible in the 40+ community Fire Safe Councils in the county as well as the regional and sub regional projects being accomplished,” stated Lakeside Fire Chief and Fire Safe Council of San Diego County President, Donald Butz in a statement in late March.

The Fire Safe Council in San Diego County was established 1997 to provide a focal point in San Diego County to address mitigating, preventing, and preparing for wildfires. The Council’s initial membership consisted of federal, state, tribal and local fire agencies with the inclusion of the Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego and representation from the insurance industry.

Grant funding allows the Fire Safe Council to further develop projects and programs, continuing the foundation established by the initial and current members of the Council. Efforts include communications, cooperation, and coordination since the FSCSDC’s inception through projects such as defensible space around homes and infrastructure, structural hardening, evacuation route identification and clearing, landscape level fuel breaks, and more.

“Collaboration with so many partners is what makes this work a success. Being able to draw on each other’s skills and areas of expertise means we can provide more benefits to the community than any one entity would alone. As a result, we are able to offer more workshops, services, and assistance to our network of community fire safe councils and the general public.” stated Ann Baldridge, Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego County Executive Director. “We look forward to supporting and building on this work to make San Diego more resilient to wildfire.”