Local resident trying to keep himself, his neighbors safe during wildfire season

Local officials want residents prepared for fires

SAN DIEGO - The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department wants San Diegans to be prepared as wildfire season beings for Southern California.

On Friday, the department kicked off their awareness campaign with a demonstration by firefighters and a press conference with San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, City Councilman Mark Kersey, SDFRD Chief Javier Mainar and two dozen firefighters from different stations in the county.

"Little blazes quickly turn into wildfires; the guidelines that the city has is clear -- 100-foot defensible space around your house, clear the dry brush and debris and anything you think could be flammable," Kersey told 10News.

"It is critical that the city, the community, partner up with us in taking care of their homes; we can't do it alone," Mainar said.

Rancho Penasquitos homeowner Greg Womat and his wife have lived in their home since 1987, and they have seen what wildfires can do to the area.

"We were here in 2003. We could see all the wildfire coming down. We saw it again in 2007. In this type of weather, these conditions, the heat; it's very flammable," said Womat.

Womat has cleared his yard and had his gardener clean up the hill just beyond his property, but his neighbors haven't and that has him concerned.

"When the city was out here, we showed them the property and a couple of people came out and walked around and then they went away; nothing has happened," said Womat. "You can see the dryness where any type of flame would just go right up."

The SDFRD's Fire Prevention Bureau will begin going door-to-door and conducting inspections of canyon rim homes. They will give homeowners three warnings to clean up before they are fined $300.


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