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$378,958 in grants awarded to 13 Fire Safe Councils in the San Diego River Watershed.


$378,958 in grants awarded to 13 Fire Safe Councils in the San Diego River Watershed


SAN DIEGO, April 3, 2024 – The San Diego Regional Fire Foundation and the San Diego River Conservancy are pleased to announce $378,958 in funding for 13 Fire Safe Councils in the Conservancy’s watershed area and a new chipper for the Alpine Fire Protection District.

“The San Diego River Conservancy is pleased to announce that it has awarded a grant to the San Diego Regional Fire Foundation and Fire Safe Councils in San Diego County. These Fire Safe Councils are remarkable organizations that work diligently to make local communities safer by engaging in activities aimed at reducing the risk and intensity of wildfires. Their efforts are truly commendable and deserve to be recognized year after year.  We proudly stand behind the Fire Safe Councils and support their vital work.”

– Julia Richards, Executive Officer, San Diego River Conservancy.

Fire Safe Councils are community-led, volunteer-based organizations with a mission to protect homes and communities from wildfires.  The organizations provided with the grants assist their respective communities through a wide-range of activities, including fire-hardening homes, removing flammable plantings, hosting wood chipping events, installing signage, educating and assisting neighbors with emergency preparedness and more.

“Our support of all San Diego County Fire departments helps extinguish fires quickly, minimizing the loss of life and property from wildfires.  Better yet, what if we could prevent fires in the first place?  That is what our grants to our county fire safe councils accomplish as these citizen volunteers take these funds, educate our residents, and do the hard work of clearing dead trees, bushes, and other debris from our roadsides, canyons, and anywhere a fire might start”

– Joan Jones, Executive Director of the San Diego Regional Fire Foundation.

Fire Safe Councils, including those listed below located in the San Diego River Conservancy’s Watershed areas,  are eligible to receive funding:

• Alpine/Viejas
• Alvarado Estates
• Campo/Lake Morena
• Chula Vista
• Cuyamaca Woods
• Jamul
• Julian
• Kensington
• Lakeside
• Mt. Laguna
• Pine Valley
• Potrero & Tecate
• Wynola Estates

In addition to funding of each Fire Safe Council’s operational activities, the grant provided funds to purchase two special pieces of equipment.  $116,155 was granted to the Alpine Fire Protection District to obtain a chipper ($108,355) for use by the newly formed Alpine/Viejas Fire Safe Council and the Fire District and $7,800 for its operation to chip vegetation to create defensible spaces, or to dispose of dead and overgrown vegetation which create a significant fire danger.

“The Alpine Fire Protection District is proud to partner with San Diego Regional Fire Foundation and the San Diego River Conservancy who are making Alpine residents safer from the threat of wildfires by funding a new brush chipper.  The chipper will allow homeowners to remove and chip hazardous fuels from their properties throughout our community’s 37 square miles through chipping events conducted by the Alpine/Viejas Fire Safe Council, Firewise USA Community, and the Alpine Fire District.”

– Brian Boggeln, Fire Chief Alpine Fire Protection District

The second special award was $25,610 for the Potrero & Tecate Fire Safe Council which included $4,000 for their operations and $21,610 to acquire an eight-year old pickup truck and a camper shell to store their equipment and to move their chipper throughout the community for  events where community members bring vegetation that they have cleared off their properties to a central point for chipping.   This “new” pickup truck replaces an unreliable 42-year old truck. Keys changed hands from the original owner to Thomas Caswell Potrero/Tecate Fire Safe Council Vice Chairman on March 3, 2024. An exciting start with increased ability to service the Community! We are hoping to have this truck ready to help out for our next chipping event on March 23rd! Join us and check out the new (to us) Truck!

“Our Fire Safe Council’s ability to continue its highly successful chipping events was threatened by the inability of our 42-year old pickup truck to continue to operate due to high maintenance costs and lack of available parts.  In our very rural area along the US-Mexican border, wildfires are a constant threat, and our residents work hard to keep their properties clear of hazardous fuels, but without our chipping events, they cannot get rid of this fuel.”

– Bryan Watling, Potrero/Tecate Fire Safe Council Chairman.

About the San Diego River Conservancy:

The San Diego River Conservancy is an independent and non-regulatory state agency established in 2002. The Conservancy’s Governing Board comprises state and local representatives and public members who form diverse partnerships committed to conserving these highly valued resources. The San Diego River Conservancy strives to accomplish its mission by preserving land, protecting open space, wildlife species, and native habitats, and providing recreational and educational opportunities. Since 2021, the San Diego River Conservancy has approved more than $23 million in grants for San Diego County wildfire and forest resilience projects.

About the San Diego Regional Fire Foundation:

For over 30 years the Fire Foundation has been the only fire foundation supporting all of San Diego County with the goal of “Making San Diego the Safest County in the Nation”.  We accomplish this by providing fire and medical equipment to all fire agencies in the County with over 250 fire stations, and on a county-wide basis communication and dispatch technology and equipment to help improve response times and field communications.

Additionally, the Fire Foundation works to prevent fires and makes community members better prepared in case of fires by supporting all Fire Safe Councils in San Diego County with brush clearance, community education, and evacuation preparation.    Lastly, we help prepare our youth for a career in public safety by supporting high school EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) and firefighting training; and with scholarships to new firefighters to attend Fire Academies and Paramedic School.  Visit