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Not Too Late to Create Defensible Space

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Oct. 2, 2009

As the county enters the most dangerous part of its fire season, the San Diego County fire Authority reminds homeowners they still have time to help protect themselves by cutting back weeds, dead and dying vegetation and potentially combustible shrubs and vegetation from around their homes.

Despite the devastating firestorms in 2003 and 2007, wildfires are still a threat within our county and homeowners are urged to protect themselves and their property.

County codes require homeowners to create 100 feet of defensible space around houses. Ways to do that include: keep irrigated, fire-resistant landscaping around homes trimmed and watered; don't plant flammable shrubs and trees beneath eaves and attic vents; trim trees that overhang or touch homes; and keep natural vegetation trimmed and thinned.

County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Dianne Jacob, whose district was hit hard by both the 2003 and 2007 firestorms, has championed defensible space for years.

"Firefighters will tell you, defensible space dramatically increases a structure's chances of surviving a wildfire," Jacob said.

Homeowners are urged to be careful when when creating defensible space around homes. Use gas and electrical powered equipment during cooler, less windy hours before 10 a.m. when sparks are not as likely to create accidental fires.

For more information please see the County's wildfire preparedness guide at www.sdcounty.ca.gov/oes/ready/docs/wildfire_preparedness_guide.pdf; and visit the Wildfire Zone at www.wildfirezone.org; the Burn Institute's "Living with Wildfire" guide at www.burninstitute.org/pdfs/Bl-Wildfire-Guide09.pdf; Cal Fire at www.fire.ca.gov; and "Fire, Defensible Space and You," at www.sdcounty.ca.gov/dplu/fire_resistant.html.