Almost 2,000 acres burned, 40 structures destroyed, and almost $5.7 million dollars in property damage were caused by the Coco’s Fire. The fire was ignited by a 14-year-old girl in her backyard on May 14th, 2014. Fire season typically starts in October after the summer has dried out the vegetation but California was experiencing one of its worst droughts on record — leaving it particularly vulnerable. The Conservancy decided to turn the tragedy of the fire into an opportunity to document the rebirth of the ecosystem, to monitor the burned areas over time, to see what could be learned by taking photos of the same sites for five years. We are now in year four of that monitoring. Read more via Source: Cocos Fire: 4 Years Later – The Escondido Creek Conservancy
Defensible space inspections help keep homeowners safe in San Marcos
San Marcos, CA –In the last year, the San Marcos Fire Department (SMFD) conducted nearly 830 defensible space inspections of properties located in the city’s highest wildfire risk areas, as determined by the Community Wildfire Protection Plan.
Photo caption: San Marcos Fire Inspector Randy Hill conducts a defensible space audit on a home in a high fire risk area.
Since January, the San Marcos Fire Department has sent notices to 250 properties asking owners to remove dead and overgrown vegetation and maintain the required 150 feet around a home to help reduce or slow the spread of wildfire.
“San Marcos is no stranger to wildfire and it is up to all of us to help keep ourselves, our property and the community safe,” said Fire Chief Brett VanWey.
During the defensible space audits, recommendations on how to improve or maintain defensible space are provided to the homeowner using a checklist and photos based on an inspection of the property. If a homeowner is not home or cannot participate in the inspection while fire department personnel are on site, a copy of the report will be mailed to the owner.
Free of charge, homeowners do not need to be present as inspectors are able to assess defensible space requirements from the street or an adjacent property. Inspections are conducted only by uniformed fire department personnel to help educate homeowners on opportunities to minimize risk of wildfire.
“Creating defensible space is critical for a home’s chance of surviving a wildfire and reduces risk to our firefighters responding,” continued VanWey.
Photo Caption: Defensible space saved this home during the May 2014 Cocos Fire.
In addition to local inspections, CALFIRE will coordinate inspections with SMFD for residents living in the State Responsibility Area. CALFIRE’s main goal will be to educate homeowners and evaluate properties to ensure owners maintain the required defensible space – 100 feet for homes built prior to 2005 and 150 feet for homes built after 2005.
Homeowners can use the following tips to help homes survive a wildfire:
Maintain 150-feet of defensible space around all structures (100 feet for homes built prior to 2005).
Clear all needles and leaves from roofs, eaves and rain gutters.
Trim tree branches 6 feet from the ground.
Use trimming, mowing and power equipment before 10 a.m.
Landscape with fire resistant and drought tolerant plants that require little water.
Remove branches away from roofs and 10 feet from the chimney.
Keep wood piles and flammable materials at least 30 feet from the home.
Use fire ignition resistant building material.
For more emergency preparedness information, visit www.san-marcos.net/beprepared or call the San Marcos Fire Department at (760) 744-1050, ext. 3410.
Harmony Grove Residents Worry About Fire Evacuation Routes. The community of scattered homes in the hills and valleys of Harmony Grove was hard hit by the Cocos fire in May 2014. The flames burned dozens of homes in the neighborhood on the outskirts of Escondido, wiping out the century-old community of Harmony Grove Spiritualist Center.
It was the battle of the fire experts both the prosecution and defense presented in their own fire investigators. Ending the second week of a 14-year-old girl’s arson trial Source: http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/-Investigator-Says-Traveling-Ember-Couldnt-Have-Started-Cocos-Fire-297111161.html#ixzz3V5i8wO3b
Cal Fire Investigator Testifies Ember Sparked Cocos Blaze
Testimony comes in arson trial of Southern California teenager
A California state fire investigator testifying at the Cocos Fire arson trial on Wednesday explained why he had concluded that only an ember could have started the devastating blaze that swept across San Diego’s North County last year.