SPVPA weighs in on the recent fire in the San Pasqual Valley. Below is the comment we submitted to Coast News in its entirety:
The memories of the Cedar Fire in 2003 and the Witch Creek Fire in 2007 are all too fresh in minds of many who call San Pasqual Valley home and the recent San Pasqual fire is yet another reminder of the fire risk in the valley. Safari Highlands Ranch will significantly add to that risk by constructing 550 luxury homes on the same type of terrain that burst into flames last Friday. As currently planned, Safari Highlands Ranch offers no infrastructure improvements that would significantly mitigate the additional risk. For instance, the current plan would have Safari Highlands Ranch using the same southern evacuation route that is already relied upon by existing communities and SHR’s plan for a northern evacuation route, as well as a fire station, is contingent upon further construction in later phases of the project, specifically after the 275th certificate of occupancy. Fire experts have characterized the proposed evacuation routes as being inconsistent with reasonable minimum safety standards and assessed the proposed fire station as being essentially irrelevant in suppressing wild fires entering the project site, not to mention that there has been no funding source identified for the personnel, maintenance and operational cost of a fire station. A recent suggestion by the developers is that future Safari Highlands Ranch residents will shoulder the ongoing costs to operate and maintain a fire station which is absurdly optimistic at best. A luxury home development in the steep, rural hills covered in coastal sage scrub and chaparral that attempts to leverage an existing single route of access creates many more problems than it solves. It’s not Smart Growth; it’s just growth.
We encourage everyone to read the fire analysis by Joseph Zicherman, Ph.D. at Berkeley Engineering and Research, Inc. on our website www.SaveSanPasqualValley.com.