The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department started a fire this morning.

Firefighters gathered up a big pile of dried up shrubs, grass and branches, piled it in the middle of a parking lot and set it ablaze.

The purpose of this demonstration was to show just how dry and flammable San Diego’s plant life has become in this unusually dry year. As we wrote about today, this is one of the driest years on record, plants are thirsty and there’s lots of dry, dead vegetation lying around as a result of last winter’s freeze.

The pile of twigs and branches, which was assembled in the parking lot of the Marian Bear Memorial Park in Clairemont, went up like, well, a bonfire. In less than a minute, the whole pile was flaming scarily and firefighters streamed out onto the dry grass bordering the parking lot to stamp out any rogue embers.

Point taken.

Jarman then made a presentation to journalists (much of which was included in today’s story by Rob Davis and I).

She did add one interesting little tidbit, however. Apparrently, there have been six vegetation fires in San Diego since the beginning of the year, all of which occurred on cool, foggy days.

“This is not a common occurrence, and it demonstrates how dry the canyons are at the moment,” Jarman said.

Jarman also offered up a wealth of information for local homeowners on how they can make their properties safer. She said next week will see the start of the Fire-Rescue Department’s outreach on fire safety for canyon rim dwellers. Firefighters will be going door-to-door handing out this informational flyer to homeowners.

Jarman also said the city is pursuing a $3 million grant to help pay for clearing dry vegetation out of the city’s 900-plus linear miles of canyons.

WILL CARLESS

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