Fire Break Spares California Homes
November 16, 2010
A fire break maintained by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) recently spared dozens of homes in the path of a fast-moving wildfire.
When the Jamacha Fire started September 18, it quickly spread to the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge. Interagency response from about 90 state and federal firefighters was swift.
Wind-blown embers ignited the roof of one home before firefighters extinguished the threat. Many more homes in the fire’s path were protected by the mile-long fire break surrounding the refuge and neighboring community of Spring Valley.
“We’ve caught smaller fires in this area before, the wind took off with this one,” reported Gordon Tamplin, acting fire management officer at San Diego NWR. “Once fire hit the fuel break, it skirted it long enough for us to chase it down.”
Thirty acres of mostly coastal scrub were burned by the fire. Its cause is undetermined, and no injuries or major damage were reported.
FWS Fire Managers annually ‘disc’ or plow under vegetation on the Spring Valley ‘fuel break’ and nine others along the refuge. Once a wildfire is stopped, keeping invasive grass out of the burned area and preventing erosion are top priorities.
FWS Fire Engine Crew 58 and Cal Fire Firefighters at the Jamacha Fire, September 18, 2010. (USFWS Photo)
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