ALPINE, Calif. — In an effort to prevent wildfires in at-risk areas ahead of this year’s wildfire season in San Diego, an extensive tree and shrub removal is underway in the East County that clears anything posing a fire danger within a five-foot proximity of a structure, but the move is raising concern from some residents.

“What we want to do is take anything that could be overhanging the roofline, cut that completely away,” shared Alpine Fire Marshal Jason McBroom while taking to FOX 5 on a tour of one apartment complex in the area unveiling the fire risks just feet away from surrounding units.

To alleviate the threat, a state law, SB 63, that went into effect last year is now underway in Alpine, requiring the removal of trees, shrubs and plants over 18 inches tall from homes, schools, businesses, or any structure in the area; something enforced by the Alpine Fire Protection District.

“It’s like links in a chain. The tighter the chain, the stronger the community,” McBroom said.

The move, however, is getting some pushback from residents like Ana Rivera who has rented an apartment in the area for the past five years. She worries the large number of trees set to be torn down could leave a lasting impact on the environment and wildlife.

“We are destroying trees that have been here for decades. This wasn’t built in a day…and any decision that we make has a long-term effect…and I think involving the community in these types of decisions is really important,” Rivera shared.

“There is a price that is definitely taken, we do our best effort of not removing the natural beauty and the splendor of the community of Alpine, but we also have to understand there is a balance between fire prevention and preservation of the environment. When it comes to protection of life and safety. That is paramount” 

Fire Marshal, Jason McBroom

Crews began the process Monday and plan to work through May 26 to get rid of threatening trees and shrubs surrounding the complex.