Here’s an interesting story brought to us by the Deerhorn Valley Community Association. The DVCA is located in the community of Deerhorn Valley near Jamul, California. There area is in the WUI (Wildland Urban Interface) located east of San Diego. This community suffered catastrophic loss of lives and property in the 2007 Harris Fire. The Harris Fire burned nearly 100,000 acres, claimed 5 lives and burned more than 500 structures. Deerhorn Valley suffered the greatest loss of homes and property of any of the communities affected by the Harris Fire according to their web site. The web site was born and the community is taking action to prevent the same ever happening again.
This story involves a local utility taking action to collaboratively assist property owners with hardening their homes. The Sunrise Powerlink power lines of this utility allegedly put the community and land and greater risk of fire. The power lines are somewhat controversial. Nevertheless, they are taking action to reduce the danger together. This type of practice makes an ideal model to be replicated statewide. We received this interesting email about the Sunrise Powerlink WUI grant program:
If you owned your home in the Deerhorn Valley area when the Sunrise Powerlink was approved (2008), you should be eligible for a $2,000 grant from SDG&E.
Deerhorn Valley is smack dab in the middle of in the Sunrise Powerlink corridor, and last week many property owners received a letter announcing these grants. http://www.sunrisepowerlinkgrants.com/
The grants are paid directly to the homeowner for 1) improving defensible space and/or 2) fire-hardening habitable structures You’ll be asked to provide documentation the work was done, and be willing to have an inspection.
The grants may also be renewed next year for an additional $2,000.
The information is online… parcels colored green are eligible. If yours is not and you had a home there in 2008, call SDGE Powerlinks Information: 619-722-7512. The information they have (probably from DPLU) is quite likely inaccurate or incomplete.
Here’s a quick overview of ways the grants can be used (you can do a mixture of Defensible Space and Structure Hardening
- Removing dead and dying grass, shrubs, and trees
- Reducing the density of vegetation – prune, mow, and thin.
- Replacing flammable vegetation with less combustible plants or irrigated landscape
- Retrofitting with approved fire-safe materials: Rooftops, External Windows, Eave boxing
- Removing attic vents and/or installation of alternatives
- Removing/replacing wood fencing with approved fire resistant materials
- Removing/replacing decks with approved fire-resistant materials
Each fire-hardened home with defensible space makes us ALL safer.
The program is a great example of communities and utilities coming together to benefit everyone.