The Scripps Ranch Fire Safe Council was originally formed as the Chimney Canyon Fire Safe Council after the Cedar Fire destroyed 312 Scripps Ranch homes in 2003. (courtesy of U.S. Navy/Wikimedia Commons)
SR Fire Safe Council will receive grant
The Scripps Ranch Fire Safe Council is poised to receive a SAFE San Diego grant tomorrow, Thursday, July 13, during the annual SAFE San Diego Awards Breakfast.
San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) will award more than $700,000 to 70 local nonprofit organizations, including Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) and Fire Safe Councils. SAFE San Diego grants are used to help fund fire safety in San Diego and southern Orange counties, especially in the areas of wildfire education and defensible space programs.
Fire Safe Council, such as the one in Scripps Ranch, can use the grant money to fund its organization and its projects in many ways, according to Elizabeth Beaver, a spokeswoman for SDG&E.
“They would use it to support their volunteer staff, to fund defensible space programs, education, programs, outreach material,” she explained. “Can you imagine someone who just moved to San Diego from somewhere wildfires are not a worry? It’s getting them to understand everything they can do to protect themselves and how their community protects them and everything that they really can do to be aware.”
The Scripps Ranch Fire Safe Council was originally formed as the Chimney Canyon Fire Safe Council after the Cedar Fire destroyed 312 Scripps Ranch homes in 2003. It was named for a nearby canyon filled with dying trees and dry brush that would have turned into a massive inferno and destroyed even more homes had firefighters not blocked the wildfire from entering. Neighbors formed a local chapter of the California Fire Safe Council with the intention of clearing land of fuel for wildfires around homes. Now, as the Scripps Ranch Fire Safe Council, the organization has received several fire prevention grants and has expanded to include all the neighborhoods in Scripps Ranch.
The importance of such a program in a community where wildfires are a danger is extensive, Beaver said.
“They do so many things,” she said. “It’s the education part of understanding largely things like defensible space. Knowing that you do have the power to make some difference in a wildfire in terms of protecting your home, protecting your family and knowing all the tools available to you, should something happen.”
Beaver explained SDG&E’s commitment to fire safety programs, especially in sponsoring efforts such as the SAFE San Diego grants. Beyond the awareness that fire season in San Diego is all year-long, and that it hopes to do what it can to protect its customers and employees, SDG&E delivers power to the communities and has to be aware of all the related risks that go along with that unique responsibility.
“We built our system now to make it as fire safe as possible, but we’ve also set it up so we can respond when one happens,” she said. “So, we’ve made it so we can proactively shut off our power lines if a fire is approaching them and the first responders need to work safely in that area without the threat of energized power lines. These relationships solidify our ability to work together when an emergency does happen, before it happens and after.”
For more information about the Scripps Ranch Fire Safe Council, visit srfiresafe.org.