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Feeling the burn, San Diego?

More people likely to pay state fire-prevention fees in backcountry

Newly revised map indicating Cal Fire responsibility areas (in yellow)
Newly revised map indicating Cal Fire responsibility areas (in yellow)

The controversial California Fire Prevention Fee may soon affect more property owners in San Diego.

If proposed changes to the fire-zone map are approved, some rural county residents will have to start paying the annual fee to help fund fire protection, while others will be relieved.

In 2014, as the drought dragged on, Cal Fire faced 1000 more fires than the norm. The fee, which supports preventive activities like brush clearing, is billed to owners of habitable structures in state responsibility areas; i.e., a zone that doesn’t include lands within city boundaries or in federal ownership.

In San Diego, the $150 fee was first assessed in August 2012. In 2013, it increased to $152.33 and may continue to be adjusted annually for inflation, according to the agency’s website.

Now, Cal Fire has released an updated fire zone map that shows where the state is financially responsible for firefighting (which is where structure owners must pay the fee).

The map reflects changes in land use and density and adds 4729 acres throughout California. Overall, the agency estimates a net loss in the total number of owners who will be charged the fee in 2015-’16. But the spread is uneven; as many counties lose acres to become local responsibility areas, others show large net gains where the fee is incurred.

In San Diego, 2139 acres would be added to the state responsibility area and 194 acres would be removed, with much of the land being within Pala and other Native-American reservations. Parts of Lakeside, El Cajon, and Escondido would also be affected.

A series of public hearings was held in February to discuss the proposed changes to the map. A hearing to approve the changes will be held March 4 at the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection meeting in Sacramento.

In parched San Diego, 65,832 parcels were billed for the fee in 2014, according to Cal Fire’s website, more than any other county.

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Newly revised map indicating Cal Fire responsibility areas (in yellow)
Newly revised map indicating Cal Fire responsibility areas (in yellow)

The controversial California Fire Prevention Fee may soon affect more property owners in San Diego.

If proposed changes to the fire-zone map are approved, some rural county residents will have to start paying the annual fee to help fund fire protection, while others will be relieved.

In 2014, as the drought dragged on, Cal Fire faced 1000 more fires than the norm. The fee, which supports preventive activities like brush clearing, is billed to owners of habitable structures in state responsibility areas; i.e., a zone that doesn’t include lands within city boundaries or in federal ownership.

In San Diego, the $150 fee was first assessed in August 2012. In 2013, it increased to $152.33 and may continue to be adjusted annually for inflation, according to the agency’s website.

Now, Cal Fire has released an updated fire zone map that shows where the state is financially responsible for firefighting (which is where structure owners must pay the fee).

The map reflects changes in land use and density and adds 4729 acres throughout California. Overall, the agency estimates a net loss in the total number of owners who will be charged the fee in 2015-’16. But the spread is uneven; as many counties lose acres to become local responsibility areas, others show large net gains where the fee is incurred.

In San Diego, 2139 acres would be added to the state responsibility area and 194 acres would be removed, with much of the land being within Pala and other Native-American reservations. Parts of Lakeside, El Cajon, and Escondido would also be affected.

A series of public hearings was held in February to discuss the proposed changes to the map. A hearing to approve the changes will be held March 4 at the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection meeting in Sacramento.

In parched San Diego, 65,832 parcels were billed for the fee in 2014, according to Cal Fire’s website, more than any other county.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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