The Anniversary of Witch Creek
The last weekend of October marks the anniversary of both the 2003 and 2007 devestating firestorms in San Diego County. As the firestorm continued to rage, and creating an eerie and choking fog, thousands of people crowded evacuation sites such as Qualcomm Stadium and the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Major interstates and roads were closed, Amtrak service was halted, and severe smoke conditions caused many businesses to close.515,000 San Diegans were evacuated as a result of the '07 fires which consumed 13% of our county's total land mass. Ultimately, the Witch Creek Fire destroyed 197,990 acres, 1,040 homes, 414 outbuildings, 239 vehicles, and damaged 70 homes and 25 outbuildings. The fire surpassed the 1970 Laguna Fire as the second-largest fire in California history.
One important lesson was to promote defensible space
Defensible space varies depending on the location of the property to be protected. Firefighters aren’t the only line of defense when it comes to structure protection; residents and government must also do their part. Local jurisdictions and residents must continue to proactively preplan defensible space so firefighters and other resources stand a reasonable chance of protecting and saving structures.
Remember: Successful structure protection not only has the potential to save millions of dollars in property losses, it also preserves the public’s faith that the fire service will be there to protect families’ homes and cherished valuables and memories when no one else can.