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San Diegans urged to prepare for wildfires

Posted at 12:26 PM, May 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-10 15:26:29-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - It is officially Wildfire Preparedness Week in California and federal, state, and local agencies are working together to ensure a safe wildfire season.

California’s wet winter created overgrown vegetation across the state, including in San Diego, and once that starts drying up and dying, things could get dangerous.

The message is clear: California wildfires have changed and the public needs to adapt.

“Our firefighters have been preparing non-stop for the inevitable fires that will happen this year. However, preparation involved all levels of the community, from first responders to the general public,” said Chief Thom Porter, Cal Fire Director.

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Porter said the public must prepare. Homeowners should create defensible space around their property and families should always have go bags and an evacuation plan prepared.

Cal Fire’s Ready for Wildfire app is free to download and offers preparation tools year-round. Homeowners can find checklists on the app and create evacuation plans as well.

San Diego County is also preparing. At a news conference Friday, Supervisor Dianne Jacob said the county is taking extra steps to protect homes here locally.

“Working with Cal Fire, the county is preparing to launch a grant program to encourage existing homeowners in high risk areas to install safer walls, vents, and other fire resistant materials to their homes,” said Jacob.

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2018's West Fire in San Diego County destroyed many homes and displaced families. Other fires in California killed dozens of people and leveled entire neighborhoods.

“The last couple of years have been really challenging and last year in particular way too many people being killed by wildfire and injured,” said Porter. “We need to be ready, we need to be set, and we need to go."

Wildfire Preparedness Week gives California residents a chance to reduce the number of wildfires by increasing public preparedness and safety through education.