By Phyllis Dozier
The Outer Jamul Fire Safe Council has obtained a federal grant to assist area homeowners with thinning and chipping of vegetation around homes and along easements. On selected weekends this spring, volunteer teams will work with home owners to be safer from wild fire by helping to create improved “defensible space” near their homes and driveways.
The ideal defensible space for rural homes as suggested by Cal Fire and San Diego Rural Fire departments consists of two zoned areas around homes, the first being a 50 foot zone of well trimmed, well watered, sparsely planted foliage, and an outer zone out to a 100 foot circle where larger plants and trees are trimmed up off the ground and spaced more than 10 feet apart. Achieving this ideal is not always possible, but Fire Safe Council volunteers will have the tools and knowledge to work with individual homeowners to educate, make suggestions, and work to thin vegetation under the homeowner’s direction.
As part of a $165,000 US Forest Service fuel reduction grant, the Outer Jamul Fire Safe Council has been authorized to purchase professional hand-operated cutting and trimming tools, safety gear, and a state-of-the-art all terrain chipper/shredder. The equipment will be used by trained volunteers. Training classes on use of powered hand tools and tool safety will be held for community volunteers who will train to use the powered tools, or to any community members who want to just learn about chain saw and weed cutter safety. The field work will be limited to thinning of shrubs, weeds, and lower branches of trees. The self-propelled chipper/shredder has tracks so it can be walked to the site of trimming instead of dragging branches to a road or driveway. The volunteer experience is a satisfying one. The tool use and safety classes are valuable for any homeowner who wants to do their own fuel reduction or who may wish to “rent” a volunteer crew from the OJFSC for a nominal donation to the Fire Safe Council.
This year the focus of the grant is on homes in Deerhorn Valley, an area severely impacted by the 07 Harris fire, and on Lyon’s Valley, an area that was spared in 07 but quite vulnerable to wild fire. Priority for free service will be given to senior citizens, those who lost homes in the 07 fires, physically challenged homeowners, or anyone who otherwise needs help in making their home safer from wild fire.
The fire safe council needs volunteers to help with this vegetative fuel reduction project, both as tool-trained volunteers and general help on a few designated weekend fieldwork days. This is a great and fun opportunity to give back to your community. There are many ways to help out besides the tool work. Raking, dragging vegetation, spreading the chipped mulch, etc are all a good way for say a family to volunteer for a few hours. This is also a great opportunity for high school-aged students accompanied by a parent to get community service credit hours.
The Outer Jamul Fire Safe Council (OJFSC) was formed in 2008 after the devastating Harris fire. It is one of over 60 similar Fire Safe Councils in San Diego County. The local Council is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation administered by a Board of local citizen volunteers. Back country areas served by the Council include Deerhorn Valley, Lyon’s Valley, Honey Springs Ranch area, Bratton Valley, Skyline Truck Trail, Lawson Valley, and Lee Valley. Meetings are held on the first Tuesday of the month at San Diego Rural Fire Station 37 on Honey Springs Road at 7PM.
For more information on this program, or to request call Tom Lamb at 619 463-8408 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org , or send a written request for defensible space work to: Outer Jamul Fire Safe Council, P.O. Box 537, Jamul
Be prepared for the next wildfire: Join the Outer Jamul Fire Safe Council!
ALL RESIDENTS OF OUTER JAMUL: (Deerhorn Lyons, Bratton, Lawson, etc.) ARE WELCOME!
Get Ready for Fire Season...
Homeowner Chacklist for Fire-Safe Homes
A Homeowner's Guide to FireSafe Landscaping in Brushland