SAN DIEGO — Volunteers took to the canyons surrounding the historic San Diego neighborhood of Kensington over the last week for the annual “Dumpathon” event, aiming to clear fire risks from the area.
Fire Safe Council (FSC) Kensington hosted the multi-day fire risk mitigation event, which started on Sept. 28 and runs until Oct. 9. Dozens of volunteers took to the area to remove brush and other vegetation that could serve as fuel moving into the region’s peak wildfire season.
According to the council, the annual event collects upwards of 15 tons of vulnerable vegetation and fire fuels.
“Reducing the risk of wildfires in the surrounding canyons takes a community-wide effort and as neighbors, we’re proud to do our part to protect one another,” FSC Kensington founder Bev Barrett said in a release from San Diego Gas & Electric, who helped fund the event through a fire safety grant.
Barrett, a longtime Kensington resident, established the council, which is a branch of the countywide FSC, in 2013 as an homage to her grandfather whose home was destroyed in 1970 Laguna Fire.
The fire, which ravaged eastern San Diego County for a little over a week, made history as third-largest wildfire in the state at the time, killing 16 and burning through over 175,400 acres of land.
“When my grandpa lost his beloved cabin, it changed him forever and I’ve carried that with me,” Barrett recalled.
As San Diego continues to adapt to a warming climate and increases in weather-related emergencies, members of FSC Kensington stress that fire risk mitigation efforts should no longer be reserved for backcountry areas.
According to SDG&E, fire safety councils like FSC Kensington play a crucial role in that community-based work, taking proactive measures to lessen wildfire threats through education, outreach, emergency preparedness and more.
There are currently 39 local fire safety councils in neighborhoods throughout the county as part of the FSC of San Diego County network.
“It’s our hope that other communities will develop their own fire safe councils to tackle specific fire risks they may experience in their neighborhoods,” FSC Kensington co-chair Amy Dyson said.