Building fire safe communities in San Diego County


In 2017 and 2018, California wildfires caused historic levels of property damage and physical harm to numerous communities throughout the state.

The ever-present threat of wildfire is a huge concern and top priority for many of California’s Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs), including the RCD of Greater San Diego County, which actively manages the programs and grants of the Fire Safe Council of San Diego County.

The Fire Safe Council of San Diego County acts as the umbrella organization for the 38 locally-formed community Fire Safe Councils within San Diego County. There are more community fire safe councils in San Diego County than in any other county in California, and Sheryl Landrum, Executive Director, and Don Butz, Board Chair of the RCD of Greater San Diego County, say they are hoping to grow this network even more. Currently, their RCD supports the local Fire Safe Councils by holding bi-monthly meetings, providing guidance on the preparation and maintenance of Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs), and delivering fire-safety workshops.

The RCD further supports residents of these communities with programs such as no-cost chipping and defensible space assistance. Their programs are so successful that they have consistently received additional discretionary funds from partner organizations to support their work. Some of their impressive accomplishments in 2017 included:

    • $195,650,000 In property value protected from wildfire
    • 30,295 Hours of in-kind volunteer fire prevention services
    • 6,153 Acres of brush cleared to improve fire resilience

In addition to hands-on technical support and on-the-ground resource management related to fire resilience, the RCD of Greater San Diego County also builds community through Annual Fire Safe Council Volunteer Awards. In 2017 the RCD celebrated its 12th year of honoring the exceptional volunteers whose fire prevention efforts keep their communities fire safe. Six awards were given to outstanding Fire Safe Councils and their volunteers. You can read more about RCD of Greater San Diego County’s recent accomplishments and programs in their 2017 Annual Report.

Many RCDs throughout the state are actively supporting or leading Fire Safe Councils in their communities. In addition to hosting meetings and community outreach, managing no-cost chipping and defensible space assistance programs, and hosting public fire safety workshops, many also engage in post-fire restoration including (but not limited to) soil health projects, reforestation, and water quality improvement programs.

RCDs are committed to delivering high quality and scientifically-vetted resources and hands-on assistance to their communities. Get in touch with your local RCD today to find out what they can do for you!