Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Hello, Deerhorn Friends and Neighbors:

In June, the Jamul FireSafe Council offered a full-day class here at our fire station: "S-215 Training – Fire Operations in the Wildland Urban Interface." It was attended by fifty county residents,  many from Deerhorn.
The main presenter was Retired Fire Chief J. P. Harris, of Los Angeles whose extensive experience as a fire-fighter, Fire Chief, and fire investigator, was of unbelievable value to us all.
Chief Harris centered his presentation on a firefighter's or homeowner's critically-needed "Situational Awareness;" he explained – the responsibility of anyone directly involved in a fire – either being threatened or preparing for a threat – to have the ability and background (skill) to "see the big picture" of how fuel (anything that burns), wind, terrain, structure type and condition, can combine to create untenable, in cases – unsurvivable, situations for anyone. The morning was lecture, and In the afternoon, we visited five Deerhorn homes that he and our FireCouncil Facilitator, Tom Lamb, selected the previous day. At each place, he pointed out factors, good and bad, that made it fire safe and defensible. The training was unbelievably informative.

"Let me recommend one book," J.P. Harris said. "'The Fire Outside My Window' by Sandra Younger." After reading it, I agree with him, it's a MUST READ for anyone living in a fire-prone wildland. Mrs. Younger is an award-winning journalist whose husband and she lost their home, and barely survived the Cedar fire. They have rebuilt, and her book is a skillfully researched and written 'extensive' coverage of every aspect of the Cedar fire.  I couldn't put it down.
I must warn: anyone who has lost their home will find many parts of it heart-wrenching.  Anyone who had a close call will find it painfully reminding, but, for anyone, it is a run-through of ALL the things that you might experience in a fire, and it is a vital resource for preparedness. We should all read it once a year.
I wrote Mrs. younger, who lives in Wildcat Canyon, west of Ramona, to tell her that her book is such a valuable contribution to us all. That it was so engaging that after each chapter, I felt that I had to brush ashes from my clothes.  She was pleased that I would recommend it on our blog and webpage.
Amazon.com carries both the paperback ($14.56) and Kindle ($10.49) editions:  
–Rob D