Smiles filled bounce houses, rock walls and barbecues Saturday in Santaluz, a stark contrast to just one month ago when the area was smoke-filled and desolated ahead of the Bernardo Fire.
That wildfire was the first of May’s devastating firestorm that encompassed San Diego County, and Santaluz was among the first communities hit.
But thanks to the tireless work of firefighters, no homes or lives were lost, even though 600 acres and 60 percent of the perimeter around Santaluz was burned.
Neighbors recognized that hard work Saturday during the Santaluz Summer Celebration.
Organizers turned the annual fundraiser for the local Fire Station 46 into a big “thank you” for all the fire departments that helped to save their homes.
“They are amazing. We love our station 46 and Cal Fire and all of the other firefighters that came from all over the county and the state. Just amazing that no structures burned, and we’re just so grateful to them,” said Santaluz resident Susan Center.
An estimated 4,000 residents joined the bouncing, feasting and fun-filled celebration, which culminated in a bright fireworks display over the community park.
As for the fundraising efforts, organizers say they gathered $6,000 to benefit firefighters. They hope to surpass $10,000 by the end of the night.