Study: Parts of county face high wildfire risk

CoreLogic data shows Ramona at highest risk

RAMONA, Calif. - Wildfire danger in 13 western states has been analyzed, up to and including the recent Colorado firestorms. The data is collected by a company that provides information for insurance companies and other interested parties.

California has received a great deal of focus, especially in light of the massive Cedar Fire in 2003 – the largest in state history – and the Witch Creek Fire in 2007. The fires destroyed more than 3,600 homes.

The study shows many communities in San Diego County are at risk, with more than 14,000 structures considered as extremely vulnerable to wildfire.

The CoreLogic data shows Ramona at highest risk of seeing homes or businesses destroyed by fire, followed by Jamul and Alpine.

Those three communities alone have 4,577 structures listed at high danger, with a property value of $1 billion.

The survey considers the fire history in a community, the terrain and amount of fuel, but also the distance from wildland. That means in San Diego County, residents need to be alert.

CalFire Capt. Mike Mohler told 10News, "Seventy-two percent of the county is either high or extreme fire conditions." He said the fires of 2003 and 2007 helped but the brush has grown back.

"The majority of those fuels have grown back and some of these fuel beds in San Diego are upwards of 30 years old, so yes, and we haven't seen a large fire since 2007," said Mohler.

Fire experts constantly talk about defensible space. Ramona resident Odessa Hendrix is happy with hers.

"I cut to the fence which is not my property," she said. "I go all the way over there and I probably go beyond my boundary over here, too."

She is very aware of the threat, having lived through it before.

"In the '07, when we were evacuated, we could see the fire back there at the hill but I really wasn't concerned even then," she said. "I think we're well protected by the fire department."

Her brother, Walter Dean, is not that worried, either.

"I know it can happen any time but I don't feel uncomfortable about it happening to us," he said. 

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