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A crew of brush thinners was hard at work in a steep valley bordering Aderman Avenue in Mira Mesa this morning. The team was thinning some city owned land that had clearly grown so out of control that thick brush was rubbing up against several homes.
Mayor Jerry Sanders held a press conference in front of the canyon to announce the city’s plans to thin 100 percent of its open space over the next two years. The mayor also announced that he will add six new code compliance officers to the Fire-Rescue Department. The compliance officers monitor brush and weed abatement on private property.
You may remember this story I wrote last year four months before the fires about the city’s efforts to clear its canyon brush. Here’s an extract from that piece:
Two years ago, in the wake of the Cedar Fire, a city of San Diego report suggested sweeping changes to the city’s brush-thinning requirements.
The report said the city should, ideally, be thinning about 590 acres of its open space every year to keep city-owned land as fire-safe as possible. That would require a full-time staff of about 33 people, the report said.
The city today has three full-time staff for managing brush management, down from 20 in 1987. The city’s annual target for brush thinning is 70 acres, less than 12 percent of the ideal brush management level.
The boost in brush thinning is thanks largely to a $2.36 million FEMA grant the city won after a two-year application process. I covered the grant in this post.
This morning, Sanders said this will be the first time in the city’s history that it has thinned all of the 1,190 acres of land it manages.
“As we all know, wildfires are unpredictable disasters. We might not be able to stop them, but we can certainly be better prepared to minimize their destruction,” Sanders said.