Cost of fighting firestorms set at $27.9M

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SAN DIEGO — The combined costs to local governments of last week’s barrage of wildfires across the San Diego region added up to an estimated $27.9 million, the county reported Friday.

Photos Offers Fire Victims Point Of ViewPrivate property owners, meanwhile, suffered roughly $29.8 million in losses due to the springtime firestorm, which erupted May 13 amid hot, dry and windy conditions and went on to rage for days, officials said.

The county has sought help from Gov. Jerry Brown in reimbursing local public-safety agencies for the costs out of the California Disaster Assistance Act.

Communities throughout the county — including those not directly affected by the blazes — sent firefighters to the front lines, law enforcement personnel to assist with evacuations, public works crews to close roads and assess damage, and employees to staff emergency operations centers around the clock.

The biggest costs stemmed from the Poinsettia Fire in Carlsbad. The coastal North County city has put the expense of fighting the conflagration at $12.5 million, and estimates another $8 million in costs to restore habitat and deal with resulting erosion.

The second most destructive blaze, the Cocos Fire, cost the city of San Marcos an estimated $10.4 million, according to the county. That total includes $6.2 million in firefighting-related costs and $2.5 million to stabilize and control erosion of denuded hillsides near residential areas, storm drains, Discovery Lake, South Lake and other areas.

The city of San Diego’s preliminary funding outlays to fight the wildfires was set at $1.3 million.

In terms of private property, Carlsbad experienced an estimated $12 million in losses. The Poinsettia Fire destroyed five homes, 18 apartment units and a commercial building. Additionally, four houses and a commercial structure sustained major damage, and 22 residences were left with minor damage.

San Marcos estimated nearly $2.2 million in private property damage. The Cocos Fire leveled five homes and caused minor damage at another five homes.

Unincorporated areas weathered an estimated $15.6 million in private property damage. A total of 34 homes, one business and 15 outbuildings were destroyed. Another two homes saw major damage, and six outbuildings minor damage.

The causes of the fires remain under investigation.

County officials submitted the preliminary figures to the state this week as part of a disaster-reimbursement process.

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