Rancho Santa Fe Fire Dept., water district among agencies sponsoring free fire-wise landscape class

Olivenhain Municipal Water District, San Dieguito Water District, Santa Fe Irrigation District, Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District, Carlsbad Fire Department, Carlsbad Municipal Water District, and Encinitas Fire Department are co-sponsoring a free, joint-agency Fire-Wise Landscape Workshop from 9 a.m.-noon Sept. 1 at the San Diego Botanic Gardens in Encinitas.

To help alleviate concerns and increase awareness of what we can do to protect property, the workshop will provide homeowners with information on how to help protect their home from wildfires, especially during the severe drought the region is experiencing.

Greg Rubin, a native plant expert and author, will lead the workshop. Topics to be discussed include landscape zones and hydration, plant selection and installation, and landscape maintenance. Representatives from local fire agencies will also be on hand to address questions or concerns attendees may have.

“Our desire is first and foremost the safety of homeowners,” said Ed Sprague, president of Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s board of directors, “and it is vital that our customers learn and employ workable fire protection goals while also minimizing the amount of water required to do so.”

Fire season is in full swing in California, with as many as 24 wildfires burning throughout the state. While most of the fire activity has been north of San Diego County, the local threat is still very real. Adding to the challenge is that California is in its fourth year of severe drought. The participating agencies understand residents’ concerns regarding the impact that state-mandated water restrictions will have on their landscape and vegetation, especially as it pertains to wildfire prevention and defensible space requirements.

“Here in North County, just a little over a year ago, we saw first-hand how defensible space can save lives and property,” said Mario Remillard, water conservation coordinator for the Carlsbad Municipal Water District. “We want people to know that there are many drought-proof plant options that can help protect your home from wildfires.”

James Ashcraft, chairman of the board of directors of the Rancho Santa Fe Fire Protection District, added, “During drought periods, fire-wise plants help protect our homes and businesses against wildfires while adding diversity and beauty to our landscape designs. By working together, we can keep our communities safe and conserve our water resources.”