Agua Fire
Flames from the 2018 Agua Fire. Courtesy Cal Fire

The Board of Supervisors Tuesday directed San Diego County’s chief administrative officer to create a stronger wildfire protection plan.

By a unanimous vote, the board asked Helen Robbins-Meyer, the county official, to find ways to expand and more strongly support fire-safe councils, enhance pre-fire vegetation management, improve pre-fire emergency planning, strengthen fire-safety measures in new construction, and reduce loss from wildfires in existing buildings.

Robbins-Meyer will work with the county Fire Authority, Sheriff’s Department and other relevant county departments and outside agencies to present recommendations within 90 days.

About 60,000 homes in the county’s unincorporated areas are at a high risk for wildfire, said board Chairwoman Dianne Jacob. She added that recent rainstorms have made the back country verdant — but additional vegetation will lead to more danger as fire season begins.

The county has experienced several devastating blazes since 2003, including the Cedar and Witch Creek fires, resulting in more than a dozen fatalities and billions of dollars in property loss and damage.

Supervisor Jim Desmond said an improved wildfire protection plan means the county can “get ahead of the game.”

Residents speaking in favor of the protection plan made several suggestions, including working with a wildfire ecologist, not building urban-type developments in high-fire areas, and encouraging homeowners to reduce brush within 100 feet of their property.

— City News Service