Living in the San Diego region, there is the constant warning of preparation for wildfires. What was once referenced as fire “season” has become a year-round timeline.
Rancho San Diego resident Linda Rogers has been keeping her bags ready to evacuate in case of a wildfire. While there have been at least two just in the last few weeks, she has been preparing for decades.
“It’s a little bit of a trigger when you hear the things and you’re sitting in your living room and watching TV and you smell smoke at all, you’re like, I hope that’s someone’s fireplace,” said Rogers.
"We’ve definitely experienced it. We’ve been evacuated twice in different fires that were out here. So one thing my husband is really good about is clearing the bank. So he takes his weed wacker down there..." said Rogers.
Firefighters kept the Casner fire in Ramona, which happened just a few days ago, contained at 180 acres. Thomas Shoots with Cal Fire San Diego said the fire was just a sign of more to come as the localized climate becomes more arid.
“If that fire had happened two months from now, it would have been a different story and we’d probably still be out there,” said Shoots.
Shoots said defensible space is key and constantly needed.
“All this grass and brush continues to grow up so it’s hard for homeowners to stay on top of it. But folks really are doing what they can to create that buffer for themselves and their families,” said Shoots.
"And it’s not just huge raging fires in the back country or canyon areas that are risky. Fires can erupt and spread anywhere in San Diego,” Shoots said.
A couple years ago, the Willow Fire stayed relatively small, but proved extremely dangerous.
“It burned down a house and almost took the individual’s life in the process. Sheriffs came in and pulled him out as his house was catching on fire,” said Shoots.
If you plan to create defensible space around your home: try and do so before 10am on a cooler, less windy day, if that’s possible.
Cal Fire has a guide here on how to create defensible space zones around your home.