San Diego

Though San Diego is Heating Up, Fire Watch is Year-Round In East County

In Dehesa, one homeowner does everything he can to lessen chances of fire-spread on his property

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Fire preparedness is basically year round if you live near a canyon or in a rural part of the county. In Dehesa, one homeowner showed NBC 7 what he's done to keep his house safe.

The open range and panoramic views draw people to the East County of San Diego. For 20-year homeowner Richard Pittman, the Dehesa hillsides also pose danger.

 “The fire came past the big rocks on the hilltop you see there," Pittman said, recounting a past fire.

Several fires have come close, he told NBC 7, including the Cedar Fire in 2003. Some of his neighbors have not been as lucky and have had to rebuild before.

“If anybody sees smoke, you immediately start calling,” said Pittman.

It’s not all luck.

“We do keep the grounds cleared around our house and we live in the middle of five acres and I keep it clean so there’s no fuel for the fire to get here,” said Pittman.

The manicured lawns and the blacktop buffering the property from the dry brush, he said, lessens his chances of his home burning down.

“That’s why this house has been here for 70 years. I’m sure because of its location and easy access for the fire departments,” said Pittman.

So when increased fire conditions come around, he knows he's done everything he can.

“You’re always kind of like on your toes. Aware of it,” said Pittman.

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