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Officials prepare for peak fire season

As the peak wildfire season approaches, fire officials on May 26 urged San Diego County residents to be prepared by clearing brush and other combustibles away from their property, having important documents ready to go and leaving when told to evacuate.

Del Mar Fire Marshall Robert Scott said the city is still at risk despite its coastal location. He said the protected types of plant species in Crest Canyon can ignite in dry and Santa Ana conditions, and are difficult to access in the event of a brushfire.

Scott said residents with homes overlooking bluffs or open spaces should have at least 100 feet of clearance for protection. He said embers could travel up to a mile in the wind, making the need to reduce overgrown “fuels” in backyards especially important.

Judge orders competency test for University City man accused of slaying his father

A young man accused of bludgeoning his 64-year-old father to death with 12-pound dumbbells as he slept in their University City apartment was ordered by a judge Wednesday to undergo a mental-competency evaluation.

Attorneys for Nikola Chivatchev, 24, told Judge Jeffrey Fraser their client was having trouble understanding the nature of the criminal proceedings, said Deputy District Attorney Michael McCann.

Attorneys ask judges to consolidate Toyota lawsuits

More than 20 attorneys from across the nation urged a federal judicial panel in San Diego on Wednesday to consolidate at least 200 damage lawsuits that charge out of control Toyotas have injured people and caused car resale values to plummet.

Attorneys for both Toyota and plaintiffs from 15 different federal court districts told the Federal Courts’ Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation that the 200-plus cases filed so far should all be assigned to one judge.

Trio admits probation violation in La Jolla surfer’s death

Three young men who served jail terms for a La Jolla street brawl in which a professional surfer died admitted today that they violated terms of probation by testing positive for marijuana and being in each other’s company.

Eric House, 22, Orlando Osuna Wright, 24, and Matthew Yanke, 23, were ordered to remain in custody without bail pending sentencing on Jan. 22.