By Ann Boon, President,
Rancho Santa Fe Association BoardThe Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District (RSFFPD) was officially formed in 1946, in the aftermath of a devastating fire that took place in 1943 and destroyed brush, farmland and homes from Rancho Bernardo through Rancho Santa Fe, all the way to Solana Beach and Del Mar. Today the Fire District spans 38 square miles and protects nearly 30,000 residents.
With the continued drought in California, the RSFFPD staff has advised us that fire season is almost year-round now. But with many major fires in recent years occurring in September and October, we tend to think about fires more this time of year.
The RSFFPD has prepared some excellent materials that are available on their website (www.rsf-fire.org). You may find these very helpful:
• “Fire Season 2014” addresses topics such as defensible space, making an evacuation plan, and tips for actual evacuation.
• Under the “Vegetation Management” section of the website are several items of interest. The “Plant and Landscape Guide” provides information pertaining to both desirable and undesirable trees, shrubs, ground covers, and other types of plants, and recommended planting distances from structures. It also details the types of palm trees that have combustible fibrous tissue, leaf bases, and those that form a skirt of brown thatch, which should removed annually. Poorly maintained palm trees are extremely hazardous.
Additionally, both our signature eucalyptus trees as well as the conifer species are extremely flammable and require attention if they are dropping leaves or branches, or are planted too close to a structure. Obviously, any dead or dying trees should be removed promptly. Landscape cuttings are not permitted to pile up and must be removed as well.
• The “Wildfire Preparedness and Evacuation” section gives guidance on how to prepare for wildfire and evacuation. The brochure titled “Getting out Alive” (available in hard copy or on the website) has a list of supplies that are useful to have on hand not only for fires but also in the event of earthquakes or floods. “Making Your Home Wildfire Ready” is also helpful.
In addition to the extensive resources on the RSFFPD’s website, you can download the “Ready San Diego” app to your phone or other mobile devices. This app can provide alerts and updates while you are on the go.
Finally, be sure that you have registered your cellphone and/or email for the reverse-911 alerts that are provided by the County of San Diego. Listed and unlisted land-line numbers do not need to be registered, since they are already included in the county’s database. You can do this at www.readysandiego.org.
Many thanks to RSF Association board member Rochelle Putnam for preparing this article.