Another successful season of Drive-Thru Wildfire Safety Fairs is on the books! Thousands of community members from across San Diego County and our tribal communities came out for the second year in a row to speak with preparedness experts and receive safety kit bags and backpacks filled with everything from solar chargers and light bulbs, first aid kits, flashlights, and evacuation plan information, all from the comfort of their cars.
“I wanted to come out,” said Diana Dabao who is an SDG&E employee and who, this year, drove through the Valley Center Wildfire Safety Fair as a satisfied customer. “This is such a cool event. I wanted to check it out because of all of the community partners and all of the different agencies out here talk about safety not just for your home but for your pets and for yourself. The turn out and the information that you receive is just wonderful.”
Community partners such as the Red Cross, San Diego County’s Department of Animal Services, CAL FIRE and 211 San Diego joined SDG&E Emergency Management, Vegetation Management, Wildfire Resilience & Operations and members of the Fire Science & Climate Adaptation department to share information about family and pet safety, Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS), Community Resource Centers, fuels reduction programs and other infrastructure and program enhancements.
“If I could offer a customer a single takeaway, it’s come out to a Community Resource Center when the power is out,” said Wildfire Resilience & Operations Manager Mark Metza. “Community Resource Centers are set up so people can pick up water and snacks and receive updates about restoration times. At some of the locations we even have EV charging available so, if you need a charge, we might be able to help you with that too.”
Due to the pandemic, Wildfire Safety Fairs over the last two years have been converted from walk-thru events to drive-thru events, and community members in attendance say they appreciate the effort that SDG&E is making, in any way possible, to get the word out. “I get emails on this all the time,” said Jeff Herr who attend the Valley Center event with his wife Donna. “And when I saw that it was coming back to Bates Nut Farm, I told my wife that we had to go and I’m glad that we did because I always learn something new every time I come.”
The events took place in Pine Valley, Julian, Alpine, Ramona and Valley Center and were not only impactful for attendees but for our SDG&E subject matter experts as well. “I love what I do, I do this for the communities,” said Community Resilience Advisor Robyn Brookshire. “I’m a back country resident myself and I’m also affected by Public Safety Power Shutoffs, so sharing wildfire safety information is extremely important to me.”
Now that this year’s events have officially come to a close SDG&E’s Director of Fire Science and Climate Adaptation Brian D’Agostino says that they are already planning next year’s Wildfire Safety Fairs. “People are so grateful, and I think it’s because they can come to one place and hear everything from what to do with their animals in case of a fire to how to create defensible space around their homes and then of course learn how to be prepared before, during and after wildfire season,” said D’Agostino. “And being able to do all of that in a fun environment is what brings people back year after year.”
To experience the sights and sounds of this year’s Wildfire Safety Fairs click here to view the 2021 Wildfire Safety Fair video. And for more preparedness information visit our SDG&E Wildfire Safety webpage.