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  The recent spring weather has turned the hillsides and fields green with a rapid growth of vegetation in and around Valley Center. This vegetation will become "flash fuel" as the season progresses towards the hot and dry summer. Weather conditions such as the "Santa Ana" winds will quickly remove the moisture content of all the growing vegetation around our homes.

Everyone must take action to cut and trim back these dangerous fuels. It is only the fuels that we have direct control over. Failure to remove these combustible vegetation areas, dead standing trees and failure to provide at least 100' of defensible space between our homes and the wild land areas will result in a future disaster.

For clearing and fire protection around your home, use the following guidelines:
Keep your property free of accumulated combustibles such as dried vegetation, cuttings and wood piles.
Within 100 feet of structures, landscape with low fire resistive plants, such as ground covers that do not transmit fire rapidly. You may retain "specimen native shrubs" if they are trimmed and are maintained free of all dead wood, dry leaves, etc. Don't plant flammable shrubs and trees beneath eaves and attic vents.
• Remove combustible vegetation and other flammable materials 100' from buildings or structures
• Remove tree limbs to 6' above the ground
• Trees and shrubs should be trimmed away from buildings and chimneys.
• Remove dead leaves and pine needles from roofs and rain gutters.
• Remove all combustibles within 10' of propane tanks
• Weeds and native chaparral should be trimmed to within 8" of the ground.
• Clear 30' from property line

Roads and driveways should be well cleared of trees and brush to permit access for fire equipment.
• Remove combustible vegetation within 10' along roads and driveways
• Maintain a 13'6" vertical clearance over roads and driveways for emergency vehicles

To help responders in an emergency please make sure your house address is clearly marked and visible with a contrasting background at the entrance to your property. (numbers 4" high with a 3/8" brush stroke)

Homeowners are urged to be careful when creating defensible space around homes. Use gas and electrical powered equipment during cooler, less windy hours before 10 a.m. when sparks are not as likely to create accidental fires.

Dead and dying groves are also a serious concern in our area. Farms and agricultural land must also comply with fire codes and present a larger problem with the recent irrigation water cut backs and cost increases. The Valley Center Fire Protection District is working with these grove owners to reduce the fire hazard. Owners or neighbors with concerns should contact the Fire Marshal.

As with all fuel reduction projects, both residential and agricultural, NEVER grade or disturb the soil. Clip and chip in place is acceptable or haul debris to a green waste center.

Each year the Valley Center Fire Protection District with CALFIRE inspects over 1,000 parcels for abatement of fire prone brush and grasses. Property owners are notified to clear their parcels, with most complying by an issued deadline.
After the first notice, the Valley Center Fire Protection District and CALFIRE identifies any non-complying parcels and causes them to be brought into compliance.
Should you receive a notice from the Valley Center Fire Protection District or CALFIRE, please act on it promptly.

If you have a concern about fire prone brush near your home, please call the Valley Center Fire Protection District at 760-751-7600. We will have someone investigate whether brush removal or other mitigation measures are necessary.

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