It is January 2020 and there are still visible signs of the West fire that broke out in Alpine in July 2018.
The burned remains of a grove of Aleppo pines left standing between Alpine Oaks mobile home park and Campbell Creek ranch was evidence of that east county fire until just a few weeks ago when Anton Botter, owner of Anton’s Tree service in Lakeside removed the trees for free.
According to Alpine Fire Marshal Jason McBroom, the dead trees, some of which stood 80 feet high, had the potential to fall in large segments and destroy newly rebuilt homes at the mobile park. What remained of the trees two years after the fire was dry, dead and flammable: potential fuel in an area prone to wildfires.
McBroom said that he, Campbell Creek ranch owner Colin Campbell and Alpine Oaks mobile home park management met in September 2019 and agreed the trees needed to come down.
He began reaching out to tree companies in the area and asked for help in removing the crisp vegetation. Ultimately Anton’s Tree Service volunteered a crew of eight to cut down the dead trees.
According to McBroom, Anton’s Tree Service also donated their time and resources to chip all the trees, remove the dead sections, and stage the salvageable pieces to be used as firewood on the Campbell Creek property.
He noted they were especially careful with the nearby stream and took obvious care to keep the environment around the trees intact.
“Botter donated all services and exceeded my expectations. On behalf of the fire district, we would like to say ‘thank you’ to Anton and all his hard workers,” McBroom said.
Alpine Oaks Manager Toni Krantz said she appreciates McBroom for advocating for the people of Alpine.
“He really put the ball in motion getting these trees down. They were huge pines, such a fire hazard, standing on the neighbor’s property. We were having trouble getting them taken down and he made it happen,” Krantz said.
Neighboring ranch owner Campbell agreed:
“We’re very, very grateful to Jason McBroom. He basically facilitated the trees coming down and it was extremely helpful,” Campbell said.
McBroom said that the Alpine Fire Protection district is committed to creating a safer community and wants to remind east county residents about the Sunrise Powerlink Fire Mitigation grants available to many homeowners.
The grants are available on an annual basis to assist homeowners in creating defensible space surrounding habitable structures or hardening of homes to reduce the likelihood of ember intrusion into a home during a fire.
More information can be found on the grants at sunrisepowerlinkgrants.com or by calling (619) 722-7512.