Get ready for Fuel Reduction Week

By Richard Earnest

Mayor, Del Mar

The City of Del Mar Fire Department is coordinating with Coast Waste Management to host a Fuel Reduction Week in the first half of June. Residents can call Coast Waste Management at (800) 386-7783 during the week of May 31 to June 4 to schedule a bin. Coast Waste Management will then deliver the bins between the dates of June 7 and June 11, on the regular pickup day. On the regular pickup day one week later, Coast Waste Management will remove the bins.

If residents have less than the equivalent of a pickup truck load of vegetation, they may leave the material in bundles placed at the curb. As always, this program is free.

Fuel Reduction Week is a key component of our city’s fire safety program because it is essential that we identify and mitigate the fire hazards from excessive vegetation in our outdoor environment. Numerous homes in Del Mar have tree branches hanging over roofs and chimney outlets. This is a dangerous situation since embers from a fireplace can easily ignite tree branches.

To prevent a fire from occurring, trim all tree branches at least 10 feet away from the roof edge and chimney outlet. Take care when pruning our protected Monterey cypress or Torrey pine trees – it is a good idea to secure a professional arborist for these species or if branches overhang the house. Be sure to check the spark arrestor screen on your chimney to ensure it is in good condition.

Another fire hazard impacting our city is houses with wood shake shingle roofs. These roofs are very combustible when exposed to fire. Burning wood shakes and shingles can peel off, becoming airborne firebrands and easily spread to other structures or vegetation. With safety in mind, the city adopted an ordinance in July 2008 that requires all homes with existing wood shake roofs to be replaced no later than July 2013 with a Class “A” roof. This class of roof is made with non-combustible materials such as tile, slate and asphalt or fiberglass shingles. If your home has a wood shake shingle roof, now is the time to plan for its replacement to meet the 2013 deadline.

To learn more about fire safety, visit or contact Del Mar Fire Department at (858) 755-1522. And please don’t forget to change your smoke alarm batteries!