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San Diego has experienced two enormous fires in recent years that have exposed the area’s lack of protection from this natural disaster. It is very important for us to recognize that these wildfires will occur again in the future. It is past time for government to take permanent preventative action to protect San Diego from this ongoing, potentially catastrophic threat.
As a part of the city’s disaster planning, we must recognize that San Diego is tax-averse. This community doesn’t want to raise taxes for practically anything. This makes taking proactive action on the issue of wildfires difficult; however, not impossible.
The most relevant fires to the city of San Diego are the ones that begin in Julian or Ramona. The Santa Ana winds then typically drive the fire west and southwest. These fires travel right into East Miramar, the largest undeveloped land in the city. Therefore, a firebreak north from Highway 52 just west of Santee could create a tactical break to stop fires from blowing into Tierrasanta and Scripps Ranch and potentially into San Clemente Canyon, Clairemont, University City and La Jolla.
This plan to build this firebreak is free to the citizens of San Diego. Here is the plan:
• First, the city of San Diego obtains a 99-year lease from the Marines for land in East Miramar for one dollar a year. This would be land going north from Highway 52, west of the city landfill bordering on Santee. The land should be about a mile wide by five miles long to create a serious, defensible firebreak.
• The city of San Diego obtains a $10 million revenue bond.
• The city of San Diego builds a golf course on the leased property.
• Golf course uses grey water to maintain the golf course.
• Golf course utilizes drought resistant landscaping.
• The city of San Diego charges golf fees to cover the costs of the revenue bond and operating costs.
The city of San Diego already operates several golf courses, so the administrative supervision for this course is already in place. When the next fire does come blowing, the combination of the golf course firebreak and Highway 52 should be used to stop the fire at that point. Firefighters would work on the west side of the golf course and south of Highway 52 to stop the fire and put out any embers that fly over the golf course or the highway. This plan has already worked in the last fire when the fire stopped at the edge of a golf course in Chula Vista. This plan is proactive in anticipation of the next fire and can be put into action at no cost to the taxpayers.
James C. Wilson is the author of “Disposable Youth: Education or Incarceration.”
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