Tag Archives: calfire

Defensible space inspections help keep homeowners safe in San Marcos

Defensible space inspections help keep homeowners safe in San Marcos

San Marcos, CA –In the last year, the San Marcos Fire Department (SMFD) conducted nearly 830 defensible space inspections of properties located in the city’s highest wildfire risk areas, as determined by the Community Wildfire Protection Plan.

Photo caption: San Marcos Fire Inspector Randy Hill conducts a defensible space audit on a home in a high fire risk area.  

Since January, the San Marcos Fire Department has sent notices to 250 properties asking owners to remove dead and overgrown vegetation and maintain the required 150 feet around a home to help reduce or slow the spread of wildfire.

“San Marcos is no stranger to wildfire and it is up to all of us to help keep ourselves, our property and the community safe,” said Fire Chief Brett VanWey.

During the defensible space audits, recommendations on how to improve or maintain defensible space are provided to the homeowner using a checklist and photos based on an inspection of the property.  If a homeowner is not home or cannot participate in the inspection while fire department personnel are on site, a copy of the report will be mailed to the owner.

Free of charge, homeowners do not need to be present as inspectors are able to assess defensible space requirements from the street or an adjacent property. Inspections are conducted only by uniformed fire department personnel to help educate homeowners on opportunities to minimize risk of wildfire.

“Creating defensible space is critical for a home’s chance of surviving a wildfire and reduces risk to our firefighters responding,” continued VanWey.

Photo Caption: Defensible space saved this home during the May 2014 Cocos Fire.

In addition to local inspections, CALFIRE will coordinate inspections with SMFD for residents living in the State Responsibility Area. CALFIRE’s main goal will be to educate homeowners and evaluate properties to ensure owners maintain the required defensible space – 100 feet for homes built prior to 2005 and 150 feet for homes built after 2005.

Homeowners can use the following tips to help homes survive a wildfire:

  • Maintain 150-feet of defensible space around all structures (100 feet for homes built prior to 2005).
  • Clear all needles and leaves from roofs, eaves and rain gutters.
  • Trim tree branches 6 feet from the ground.
  • Use trimming, mowing and power equipment before 10 a.m.
  • Landscape with fire resistant and drought tolerant plants that require little water.
  • Remove branches away from roofs and 10 feet from the chimney.
  • Keep wood piles and flammable materials at least 30 feet from the home.
  • Use fire ignition resistant building material.

For more emergency preparedness information, visit www.san-marcos.net/beprepared or call the San Marcos Fire Department at (760) 744-1050, ext. 3410.

Two small brush fire near the old Waste Treatment Plant quickly contained

Elijo Fire

Photo: Brockett

A small brush fire near the old Waste Treatment Plant (Dump) on San Elijo Road was quickly contained today. About 1/8th of an acre was burned. A 2nd spot fire was also contained in the same area it also burned about an 1/8th of an acre.

San Marcos, Elfin Forest, Carlsbad, and CalFire fire crews all responded quickly! Air support was canceled in route.

The cause of the fires is under investigation.

Cal Fire Investigator Testifies Ember Sparked Cocos Blaze | NBC 7 San Diego


Cocos Fire

Cal Fire Investigator Testifies Ember Sparked Cocos Blaze

Testimony comes in arson trial of Southern California teenager

A California state fire investigator testifying at the Cocos Fire arson trial on Wednesday explained why he had concluded that only an ember could have started the devastating blaze that swept across San Diego’s North County last year.

Capt. Christopher Palmer, a specialist with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said that there was no evidence that anyone had been in the canyon where the fire began, no footprints nor any other signs of human activity. READ MORE via Cal Fire Investigator Testifies Ember Sparked Cocos Blaze | NBC 7 San Diego.

Cocos Fire update for Saturday

San Elijo Hills Updates

  • Edco Trash today
  • Alberstsons is open
  • Cafe Stoked is open today
  • The garage sale and charity event in the area is cancelled for this weekend and postponed to Saturday May 31st, 7-11am.
  • Pirate Party has been cancelled

What Firefighters Need

Energy drinks

We would recommend dropping off at Lake San Marcos Fire station on Rancho Santa Fe or Carlsbad Fire Station on Rancho Santa Fe.

Cal Fire Update

2,520 acres – 70% contained per Cal Fire *looks like the revised down the acres
Structures Destroyed: 8
Evacuations: Evacuations are in progress and remain in effect. Click here to get more:by clicking here.
Injuries: 3
Cause: Under Investigation
Total Fire Personnel: 1,000 firefighters
Total Fire Engines: 161
Total Fire crews: 30
Total Airtankers: 6
Total Dozers: 6
Total Water Tenders: 6
Incident Management Team: CAL FIRE Incident Management Team 4


FIRE UPDATE: Preliminary Damage Assessment
Fire size currently 2,520 acres at 70% containment
Posted Date: 5/17/2014 9:30 AM

The Cocos Fire size is currently 2,520 acres with 70 percent containment. Fire crews are working around the clock to ensure safety and to get residents back to their homes as soon as possible. No serious injuries have been reported and 

Eight homes have been damaged or destroyed. While we know how devastating it for those residents who have lost their home, firefighter crews have worked relentlessly during this incident to ensure the safety of the community and save as much property as possible. 

Residents whose homes were lost or damaged can report to the recovery liaison office located at the San Marcos Library, 2 Civic Center Drive, open 7 am to 5 pm everyday for as long as necessary. The office can offer these residents help to obtain building permits, clear ash from swimming pools, safely handle food after a power outage and other recovery and rebuilding information. 

Updated fire incident:
Acres: 2,906 acres 
Percent Contained: 
Initial Damage Assessment: 8 homes damanged or destroyed 
No major injuries reported 
Total personnel deployed: 1,269 (regionally) 
Apparatus currently deployed: 
Engines: 164 
Fire Crews: 27 
Aircraft: 0 
Helicopters: 2 
Water tenders: 1 
Bulldozers: 11 
Other Equipment: 119 

North of Barham Drive, east of Twin Oaks Valley Road and west of and including South Hill Drive 

Residents on the west side of Via Vera Cruz, including neighborhoods of Lake San Marcos and residences to the east up to Via Vera Cruz 

Entry points into the neighborhoods listed above will be through Rancho Santa Fe, from the southwest and Discovery Street to Via Vera Cruz from the north 

Link to interactive map.: http://www.bit.ly/1mWol89. (Map is slow to load, please be patient.) 

Mandatory Evacuations still in PLACE for these locations:
Questhaven south of Elfin Forest through Harmony Grove and the area east of Twin Oaks Valley Road along Barham Drive and south into the Coronado Hills community. 

The evacuation centers located at Mission Hills High School at 1 Mission Hills Court. 

We understand that residents are anxious to return to their homes but safety is our highest priority and we will not repopulate areas until we are sure it is safe. For your safety, please do not enter evacuated areas, including surrounding paths and trails. 

Road Closures
Road closures have been issued for the following locations. Due to these closures, morning traffic is expected to be congested in these areas. Residents and motorists are advised to avoid these roads and use alternate routes. 

Twin Oaks Valley Road at Craven Road to San Elijo Road 
Elfin Forest Road from ½ south of City limits 
Questhaven Road from City limits 
Coronado Hills Drive (all directions) 
La Moree Road (all directions) 
Barham Drive from Woodland Parkway to City limits