Assistance for Border Fire victims approved

Posted at 2:15 PM, Jun 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-28 18:01:58-04

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously approved a plan to provide assistance to victims of the destructive Border Fire in the East County.

The action directs staff to distribute trash bins to residents who need to clear debris and to waive fees for various permits that will be needed in the rebuilding process.

Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who represents the area, said the county has taken similar steps after previous fires.

"It's an absolute tragedy for anyone that has lost everything, and to put ourselves in that position is very difficult unless you've been there," Jacob said.

"Most people have not built a house before, so just building a house is a very cumbersome, difficult, complicated situation," she said. "So the least that we can do as a county is step up and do what we can to help."

She emphasized that the benefits will only apply for "legally built" structures.

The blaze destroyed five homes and 11 outbuildings, prompted widespread evacuations and blackened more than 7,600 acres since it broke out near Potrero 10 days ago. It is now 90 percent contained.

At last count, 377 firefighters were mopping up hot spots and laboring to extinguish the remainder of the fire, which broke out for unknown reasons near state Routes 94 and 188 on the morning of June 19, fire officials said.

"People should know that this is just the beginning," Jacob said. "We're in for probably one of the worst fire seasons that we have seen yet, and there is an awful lot of brush out there -- dry brush -- to burn that hasn't burned in over 50 years."

People need to take responsibility for their own homes and make sure they clear away vegetation, she said.