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San Diego County officials tout wildfire response, urge residents to prepare

07/16/21

 

County leaders presented plans Friday for a quick response to wildfires and discussed recent investments in wildfire prevention.

During a press conference at Gillespie Field in which they residents were urged to take steps to protect their homes, Supervisors Joel Anderson and Nathan Fletcher were joined by representatives from Cal Fire, the county Fire Protection District, San Diego Sheriff's Department and San Diego Fire-Rescue.

"We are ready to respond to wildfires," said Fletcher, Board of Supervisors chairman and county Fire Protection District president. "Our county, together with our partners across the region, have the training, equipment and experience in fire prevention, protection and suppression; the duties they perform under very difficult circumstances are heroic."

"Over the years our region has invested heavily in resources to support wildfire preparedness, but the increased fire danger from drought and climate change require us to do more," Fletcher said. "Going forward, I will continue to work with my colleagues and regional leaders to explore more options to increase protections for our region."

Last year, California experienced six of the largest and most destructive wildfires in state history, with more than 4 million acres burned, according to Fletcher's office. In 2020, the Valley Fire that burned southeast of Alpine destroyed 30 homes and forced more than 1,400 residents to evacuate.

So far this year, firefighters in California have responded to more than 4,600 wildfires that have burned upward of 73,500 acres on state and federal lands. "Due to continued dry conditions and temperatures well above normal for this time of year, the 2021 wildfire season could be as catastrophic and devastating as last year," according to Fletcher's office. Nearly 80% of unincorporated land in San Diego County is in high or very high fire hazard severity zones. READ MORE