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Planning ahead for fire season

By Joe Dicks

President, La Jolla Shores Association

Fire season is upon us once again, and driving down Torrey Pines Road from UCSD to Pottery Canyon gives me cause for concern. This scene is repeated on La Jolla Parkway, through the Route 52 corridor, as well as numerous other private and public pathways in and around La Jolla.

The periodic rains this past winter blessed us with an unusually green springtime landscape, which is now quickly turning into that all too familiar fawn-colored tinder — fuel for fire. To compound matters, the blight that has stricken our ubiquitous eucalyptus trees has left many of them dead, especially along that same portion of Torrey Pines Road.

We collectively kick ourselves, after the fact, when disaster does strike for not having sufficient air-tankers and other fire-fighting equipment to handle the inevitable fire outbreaks that hit our county so very hard some years. We secretly let out a sigh of relief when it is our home or neighborhood that was spared the worst of it, wondering if the folks hit the hardest could have fared better if they had been more proactive about cutting down dead eucalyptus trees or removing weeds and brush.

Now, of course, is the time for the city, Cal-Trans and the residents of La Jolla to take heed and step up measures necessary to remove the dead and dying vegetation that threatens ignition this summer. We should remember the fires that recently swept through Scripps Ranch, jumped the 15 freeway and the 805, and headed toward La Jolla. So, let’s rev up those weed-whackers and get to work. (But don’t weed whack on super-dry days! That could be all it takes to start a fire.)

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We may not be able to prevent a wildfire, but we may be able to minimize the damage it could do to La Jolla.