Stay safe during fall’s fire season


By Crystal Crawford

Mayor, Del Mar

October is National Fire Prevention Month, and Del Mar proclaimed this week as “Fire Prevention Week.” There’s good reason to be reminded of how to stay safe during autumn’s fire season, particularly in Southern California where wildfires are unfortunately common. The key to surviving a wildfire is preparation and prevention.

First, follow fire-safe guidelines for maintaining the vegetation around your home. We all enjoy the environment that trees and plants provide, but consider creating a greenbelt with your landscaping in order to provide a buffer between your home and any nearby fire. Lawns are a common fire buffer but are also “water hogs.” Low-lying plants high in moisture can also be used as buffers, and it is extremely important to make sure that all dead and low hanging branches are removed from your trees.

Next, be sure your chimney has a spark arrestor to prevent embers from escaping your fireplace. Shake shingle roofs are the single biggest contributor in the loss of homes in a wildfire. Last year the Del Mar council adopted an ordinance requiring that all shake shingle roofs be replaced by 2013 with Class-A Roof Covering, which will help reduce the spread of fires from rooftop to rooftop. Closing in the eaves of your roof and properly screening the vents to your attic will also minimize your fire risk.

Del Mar’s fire department has trained personnel that are available to evaluate the conditions of your home and review your property, both the landscaping and structures, to advise you of how to reduce your fire risk. Feel free to call your Fire Department at 755-1522 and request a Fire Safety Inspection. The city continues to collaborate with our neighbors to provide even more responsive and cost effective fire protection services. Just this week, the city council approved a two-year Fire Management Services agreement with the Cities of Encinitas and Solana Beach and the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District.

And finally, in celebration of Fire Prevention Month, please join me and the Del Mar Fire Department personnel at their annual Fire Department Open House and pancake breakfast tomorrow, Oct. 10, between 7:30 and 11 a.m. at the Del Mar Fire Station.