San Diego County firefighting assessment and damage assistance

“We’re the best prepared we’ve ever been, it’s the best coordinated effort we’ve ever seen,” stated Board Chair Dianne Jacob.

It’s awful for anyone to lose a home, especially when it involves the capricious nature of wildfires, but the lessons learned from 2003 and 2007 saved us from having to characterize the fires as catastrophic as we did back then. Last week could have been so much worse; more on that in a moment.

Tuesday, county supervisors took two actions relating to damage. One, waiving the fees and streamlining red tape for homeowners and business people who want to rebuild similar to the aftermath in 2003 and 2007.

“We’re going to be waiving building fees and expediting plans, as they return to their homes, and just try to make it as smooth and flawless as we can,” said County Supervisor Greg Cox.

The other: ratifying an emergency declaration – a formality for state and federal aid although Jacob says federal help could be an issue.

“What I’ve heard is their threshold: $51 million in losses. So, until they do a complete assessment, we won’t know for sure, but it’s unlikely we’ll reach $51 million in losses.”

While the weeklong firefighting effort proved we are far better prepared than we have ever been, truth is, next time things could be very different. Believe it or not, the winds could have been worse, and there were no major fires burning in southern California – or elsewhere in the state. We had a full complement of people on the ground and in the air. Jacob, for one, wants to assess out latest effort as quickly as possible. She and other officials have already heaped the praise; now, what can be improved upon.

“I’ve already talked with our Chief Administrative Officer about getting the after action report back to the board by our June 17th meeting. She will be convening all of the different entities together that were at the emergency operations center, where can we improve and do it quickly.”

Early, in what shapes up to be out worst fire season ever.

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