While numerous wildfires wreak havoc across California, a number of communities in San Diego County are working with the Fire Safe Council to create Fire Safe Plans.
One of those communities is Muth Valley on the outskirts of Lakeside. The area is remote and rustic, surrounded with trees and brush that make perfect fuel for wildfires. When the hot, dry Santa Ana Winds start gusting, residents are well aware of the fire danger.
Lynne Fuller and her husband moved into the community in 2004, buying the land from an owner who had lost their home in 2003 and decided not to rebuild.
The Cedar fire claimed the lives of some of the neighbors who once lived here.
“Some people went down to try to get to San Vicente to get in the water and they died," Fuller said. "They couldn't get down there and they couldn't get back."
When she learned the community of Muth Valley needed someone to help organize a Fire Safe Plan as part of the El Monte Wildcat Fire Safe Council and serve as the person to coordinate communication in case of a wildfire, she volunteered.
She helps residents with strategies to protect their homes and has helped with the community-wide evacuation plan. One of the tools is an app on her phone that allows her to notify people with a push of a button if there is a threat.
Fuller used the tool recently during a small fire.
“When I called everybody on the app and they said my app worked really great," Fuller said. "So it's nice to have a little test drive before it got [into a] really bad situation.”
The community is now on the reverse 9-11 call list, which wasn’t available during the Cedar Fire in 2003.
“There were some people who didn't know until it was just coming over the hills and they just couldn't get out of here fast enough," Fuller said.
The community only has one road leading in and out, posing an extra hazard to the neighborhood. There is also new home development underway. Fuller explained that's another reason why having a plan in case of wildfires is critical.
“So there's even more people, so it's gonna be even worse this next time," Fuller said.
To find out if your community has a Fire Safe Plan go to the website Fire Safe San Diego County.