The Cedar Fire: 10 Years Later

October 26, 2003—the day Scripps Ranch was devastated by the Cedar Fire. Words such as tragedy, catastrophe, and disaster are forever linked to this event that changed our community. However, the way Scripps Ranch came together was awe-inspiring, and that’s why we chose Scripps Ranch Strong as our theme. The spirit of community rose from the ashes.

To mark the 10-year anniversary, we look at what has changed since 2003 to make our community safer, and what you could do to prepare for the next wildfire. As all of the experts consulted for this Special Report told us, it’s not if, but when, another wildfire will hit Scripps Ranch.

Our community’s recovery and rebuilding process became a national model for how to overcome a disaster. Yet many lessons were learned about firefighting, organization, evacuation, and so much more. Because of the Cedar Fire, much has changed for the better.

In this Special Report, we look at:

  • Evacuation planning—included in this Newsletter is a special brochure for you to remove and keep.
  • How firefighting has changed since 2003.
  • How to prepare for the next emergency.
  • The Scripps Ranch Fire Safe Council: how the group got its start and what it does for our community.
  • Why you do not have enough homeowners insurance.
  • Cedar Fire survivors pay it forward.

Cedar Fire Facts

The Cedar Fire is the largest and most devastating wildfire in California history.

  • Started: Saturday, Oct. 25, 2003, 5:37 pm
  • Where: Cleveland National Forest, east of Ramona
  • Fatalities: 13 civilian, 1 firefighter, none in Scripps Ranch
  • Structures destroyed: 2,232 homes (312 in Scripps Ranch), 22 commercial properties, 566 outbuildings
  • Acres burned: 273,246
  • Cause: Hunter setting a signal fire.

[Source: CAL FIRE website]

Evacuation Planning

By Jerry Mitchell, Scripps Ranch Fire Safe Council Director

Following the Cedar Fire it became evident that one of our biggest problems was evacuation. For the past two years we have focused on finding solutions. Working closely with the San Diego City Homeland Security, Police, and Fire-Rescue departments, we developed an evacuation planning guide that is being distributed in this Newsletter.

Stapled into the centerfold, you will find a document called, Your Evacuation Plan (below is a photo of the cover). Please remove the booklet and keep it. The brochure contains a series of checklists and a map that shows your most likely evacuation routes. It is incumbent on each household to prepare in advance for an event requiring evacuation. If you do, it can save you thousands of dollars, perhaps your home or your life.

Start with the “Advanced Preparation” checklist on page 2. Items on this checklist have backup information that will give you specific details and guidance. This backup information can be found on our website at [www.SRFireSafeCouncil.org].

You may have some advanced notification of a potential wildfire. If so, get ready to go! Remember that the Cedar Fire took about 14 hours to travel the 25 miles to Scripps Ranch. In the Witch Fire of 2007, the midnight wind shift spared Scripps Ranch but put thousands of Poway and Rancho Bernardo homes in its path. That proves that the speed, direction, and intensity of wildfires are not predictable. Finally, to avoid being trapped in traffic for hours in an evacuation, leave early!

Prepare for the Next Emergency

By Councilmember Mark Kersey

A recent survey of San Diego County residents showed that only 7% of households reported having a “very comprehensive plan” and were prepared for a disaster. That is something I am going to work to change this fall in coordination with Prepare San Diego, a public-private coalition including the American Red Cross.

I don’t think there could be a better way to recognize the 10-year anniversary of the Cedar Fire than by making sure you, your family, and your neighbors are prepared for the next fire or major emergency. Following are a few things you can do.

Sign up for AlertSanDiego

Sign up for the countywide AlertSanDiego notification system. AlertSanDiego, which you may know as “Reverse 911,” allows the city or county emergency operations center to send telephone notifications to residents and businesses in an area impacted or threatened by an emergency.

If you have a landline, even if it is unlisted, you are already in the AlertSanDiego system because it utilizes telephone databases. If you have a cell phone or other non-landline number, register it at [www.readysandiego.org/alertsandiego]. You may want to register the phone of everyone in your family.

Have “Defensible Space”

One of the best ways to protect your home from fire is by creating defensible space between your home and the potential fuel sources. It is typically the homeowner’s responsibility to maintain this space in order to reduce fire risk.

In San Diego the city regulates brush management through its municipal code. There are two “Brush Management Zones” that total 100 feet. The first is the immediate 35 feet surrounding your home and the second is the remaining 65 feet. Each zone has its own special requirements for landscaping and irrigation. The requirements are outlined in the city’s Brush Management Guide that’s online. Go to [www.sandiego.gov/fire/pdf/brushpdf.pdf].

The city has been working in the Scripps Ranch area to manage city-owned open space. After the Cedar Fire the city received a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation grant to thin brush in that open space. The work started in the fall of 2010 and 138 acres of open space brush was thinned.

Although the grant money has been used, the city continues to take a proactive approach to fire prevention to keep Scripps Ranch safe. In fact, the trees south of Pomerado Road—between Chabad Center Driveway and Avenida Magnifica—were reviewed by an arborist in mid-August, and work will begin to thin the area in the next several weeks.

City Emergency Plan

As of press time, we were scheduled to hold a special City Council meeting in late September to discuss disaster preparedness. We planned to review a master agreement with the American Red Cross to designate city Park and Recreation facilities as emergency shelters in the event of a crisis. This is the first agreement of its kind in San Diego and is critical to ensure that evacuees have a clean, safe, and dedicated place to go.

We also planned to look at our Emergency Operations Plan. It is imperative the city have an updated plan so we are ready for any disaster—whether it’s another fire, earthquake, or act of terrorism. My City Council staff will update the community on this issue at the October SRCA meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 8, at 7 pm at the Scripps Ranch Library. We hope you join us.

Looking Ahead

Tragedy oftentimes brings people together, and I know that Scripps Ranch is stronger now since the Cedar Fire. It is a testament to the resiliency and commitment of your community and the leadership of the Scripps Ranch Civic Association. Let’s all commit to taking this month to look ahead and establish a family emergency plan so we are all better prepared the next time tragedy strikes.

Fighting a Wildfire—10 Years After the Cedar Fire

By Chief Javier Mainar, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department

Ten years after the Cedar Fire, a great deal has changed and improved in the city and at the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. But when it comes to wildfires, a great deal has stayed the same. Most importantly, we know firestorms will happen here again. It’s just a matter of when.

In the aftermath of the fire, wood shake shingles were banned on new construction or roof replacements. Roofing material must be “A” rated, the most fire-resistant materials. New construction must have boxed eaves or no eaves. Double-glazed windows and “A” rated siding is required. All of this helps to fire-harden structures.

Codes were changed to require 100 feet of defensible space between the vegetation that is the fuel of the fire and a structure. The previous regulation was 65 feet. This further reduces risk of the structure catching fire due to radiant heat exposure. One hundred feet also provides firefighters a wider area to work to more safely defend structures.

Many San Diego homeowners can be commended for how well they have embraced the need for brush management and defensible space. However, there is vast room for improvement. Anyone flying over the city today will see considerable proactive involvement by some residents in preparing their property for the eventuality of a wildfire.

The city has increased the number of code compliance officers we have in the field—from two at the time of the Cedar Fire to seven today. They are responsible for a comprehensive door-to-door brush inspection program of the 45,000 properties on canyon rims throughout the city. The code compliance officers also follow up and inspect about 2,000 complaints a year and another 2,000 vacant lots.

The Fire-Rescue Department is also a member of the Ready, Set, Go! program—visit [www.wildlandfirersg.org]. Managed by the International Association of Fire Chiefs, Ready, Set, Go! seeks to develop and improve the dialogue between fire departments and the residents they serve. The program helps fire departments teach individuals who live in high-risk wildfire areas—and the wildland-urban interface—how to best prepare themselves and their properties against fire threats.

San Diego’s Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) were formed after the Cedar Fire. Today there are 14 teams—including one in Scripps Ranch— and 1,500 CERT-trained volunteers citywide, 93 of them in Scripps Ranch.

There has been considerable improvement in evacuation notification since 2003, with both the city and county purchasing “Reverse 911” systems. These systems were used successfully in the 2007 fires and have been improved even more since.

Firefighter Training

During the Cedar Fire we recognized the benefit of having trained and qualified Incident Management Team (IMT) members assist in the organization of our efforts. As a result, more firefighters were trained to deal with the planning, logistics, safety, scheduling, financing, and the “business” of fighting a wildfire. These IMT members managed the 2007 Guejito/Witch Fire autonomously within the city.

Since then, the Fire-Rescue Department has provided IMT training to many more firefighters. This positions the department well for managing future large scale wildfires and all other “all-hazard” emergency incidents, such as landslides, floods, earthquakes, power outages, and building collapses, as examples.

Many San Diego firefighters also participate as members of the region’s All-Hazards Incident Management Team (AHIMT), a multiagency and multidiscipline team—fire, law enforcement, lifeguards, public works, public health, emergency management, and more—that is deployable on short notice. The San Diego AHIMT is one of a dozen teams also recognized by the U.S. Fire Administration and available to assist other jurisdictions within the state and nation, if called upon.

Equipment Changes

In 2003 two-fifths of our fire apparatus were more than 12 years old, and the department had only eight reserve apparatus ready to be deployed. Today, because of a concerted effort to make improvements even in the face of budget constraints, the firefighting fleet is in the best condition in more than 10 years—93% of the frontline engines are less than six years old, and there are 28 ready reserve engines.

Having a fleet of reserve engines is important because it allows us to send more firefighters to the fire line. Day in and day out, we operate with three shifts of firefighters, each shift working 24 hours. That means two-thirds of the workforce is off-duty on any given day. In a wildfire we will call in as many additional firefighters as we have equipment for them to staff, increasing our ability to defend homes and businesses against wildfires.

Thinking “Outside the Box”

To get still more firefighters and equipment into communities during a wildfire, we have thought “outside the box.” In one instance we literally created a box: a portable kit of firefighting equipment that we call a Firestorm Augmented Suppression Team (FAST) kit.

We recognized that sometimes, particularly after the main wildfire has moved through an area, it is not necessary to have a full engine company and fire engine working a neighborhood. But we do still need to be there because in a wildfire, structures can catch fire because fencing, debris, or other material continues to burn and embers can get carried in the wind to previously saved structures. FAST kits of essential firefighting tools and equipment can be deployed in pickup trucks with staff that would not otherwise have equipment to take to the incident. Today we have 15 FAST kits ready to go.

The department also has eight “Air Kwik” units. It’s an air pressurized 80-gallon water tank. We add eight-tenths of a gallon of foam to each tank. When pressurized, the foam spray can be used to extinguish small fires or mop up vegetation fires. Each unit is equipped with 100 feet of one-inch hose. Like the FAST kits, the Air Kwiks are meant to be mounted in the bed of pickup trucks.

These are innovative and creative ways to supplement the fire apparatus in the field in a major fire siege. They let us patrol a lot of neighborhoods in a short amount of time, with few resources and relatively little expense.

Firefighting from the Air

San Diego Fire-Rescue now owns and operates two firefighting helicopters. They have been modified and the pilots trained and qualified to drop water at night if any of these criteria are met:

  • Lives or structures are, or will be, threatened.
  • Resources of high economic value are, or will be, threatened.
  • Excessively high suppression costs will be prevented by taking action.
  • Potential for large fire growth and/or extended resource commitment is deemed unacceptable.

Other critical issues in aerial firefighting have been addressed since the Cedar Fire. Dedicated firefighting aircraft resources across the state were stretched thin while military aircraft sat on the ground. The process to order and get approval for the military planes and helicopters was lengthy and cumbersome.

Agreements are now in place between the state firefighting agency (CAL FIRE), the California Military Department (National Guard), and the federal Department of Defense. These agreements will speed that process considerably.

However, it doesn’t stop there. Even if those agreements had been in place during the Cedar Fire, the differences in communications, procedures, and protocols would have made it very difficult for the military to work in unison with city and state firefighters. CAL FIRE now trains every year at Camp Pendleton with Navy and Marine pilots so that, even though firefighting is not their primary mission, the military aircraft can be a vital part of the effort against wildfires.

Regional Firefighting System

During the Cedar Fire the dispatch centers in the region saw their highest call volumes ever, and resources from every department in the area and outside the region provided help. Wildfires do not respect boundaries, and recognition of that fact led us to put in place a solution that is used every day. If there’s an emergency in the city of San Diego and first responders from a neighboring city or jurisdiction are the closest help, we have the ability to dispatch those units.

This is not just a program used during wildfires. The computer aided dispatch systems can track the position of fire apparatus and ambulances, know if they are available for a call, and dispatch the closest first responders to the aid of residents regardless of their address.

There are residences in Scripps Ranch, for instance, where the closest fire station is in the city of Poway. Through this regional cooperative dispatch system, we can now call upon Poway as easily and quickly as we could dispatch our own San Diego resources. It works in the other direction too. If our resources are the nearest, we go where we are needed. The majority of local fire agencies are part of this regional dispatch system now, with Escondido ready to go online in November.

Training to Fight Wildfires

Every San Diego firefighter participates in regular wildfire training to be better prepared for future firestorms. Part of this training includes learning to “triage” a situation. That’s when firefighters determine how best to use the resources available to provide maximum protection for the lives and property of citizens, as well as for the safety of firefighters.

Be Prepared

With those changes and others, with those improvements in place, one fact remains the same: there are not enough firefighters, firefighting equipment, or water to stop a Santa Ana wind-driven wildfire.

We need only to look to Yosemite National Park this summer to realize that it is not a question of if, but when, the next wildfire will strike. The vegetation conditions today are at least as dry as they were in 2003. We will always be at the mercy of the dry vegetation and weather conditions. This underscores the importance of preparation and knowing what to do when the next catastrophic wildfire occurs.

After the Fire: The Birth of the SR Fire Safe Council

By Jerry Mitchell, SR Fire Safe

Council Director

Coming Home

Following the Cedar Fire of 2003, evacuees from Scripps Ranch returned to their homes with their hearts in their throats. Did their homes survive, or were they gone? Hundreds were gone—312—and hundreds more were damaged. And many that were directly in the path of the fire survived.

Chimney Canyon

Our neighborhood in “old” Scripps Ranch—north of Pomerado Road and south of Miramar Lake—bordered a huge canyon filled with wildfire fuel that had accumulated for decades. Dead trees and dry brush filled the canyon and pushed up against the fences behind the 200 homes on the rim. Trail 22 was overgrown and impassable. The Cedar Fire came within 30 yards of entering that canyon. But it didn’t, and the homes were spared.

A fireman later called this “a chimney canyon.” He explained that had the fire ignited that canyon, at least 200 more homes, and probably Jerabek Elementary School, would have been destroyed.

Fire Crew Heroics

As it turned out, Chimney Canyon and adjoining neighborhoods were saved by firefighter heroics. On October 21, 2003, the first of a devastating series of Southern California wildfires started on Camp Pendleton. During the next week, 13 more major wildfires ignited. In all, 750,000 acres burned, 3,710 homes were lost, and 23 people were killed. By Saturday, Oct. 25, 13,300 firefighters, 1,650 fire engines, and 65 aircraft, were fighting “The 2003 Firestorm.” Tens of thousands of people were evacuated.

Saturday evening, in the Cleveland National Forest, about 25 miles north of Scripps Ranch, the Cedar Fire ignited. Early Sunday morning, with almost no warning, the fire—propelled by hot, dry Santa Ana winds—swept into Scripps Ranch from the southeast. Totally unprepared for evacuation, residents on the south side and along the canyons on Pomerado Road fled the flames.

A small number of firefighters were immediately diverted to our community. At a rapidly formed command center on the corner of Pomerado Road and Semillon Boulevard, fire crews were deployed along the north side of the canyons to prevent the fire from entering several dangerous fuel laden areas to the north and west. Although some homes were lost, these valiant crews stopped the fire from entering the canyons to the north and prevented an even worse disaster.

A Neighborhood Takes Action

Living on a tinderbox on the rim of “Chimney Canyon,” where a single spark or an errant match can destroy your neighborhood, is a bit unnerving. A week after the Cedar Fire, a few neighbors met on a street corner and decided to take action. We set up a meeting for later in November and invited 50 neighbors; 40 showed up. We called ourselves the Chimney Canyon Fire Prevention Association.

Chimney Canyon Fire Safe Council

Ten months later, we had discovered and joined the California Fire Safe Council. We received two Forest Service grants totaling $223,000, obtained the necessary permits from the city, hired the California Conservation Corps to do the work, and the Chimney Canyon clean-up began.

Scripps Ranch Fire Safe Council

In January 2005 we briefed the Scripps Ranch Civic Association (SRCA) on what we had accomplished. At that time we were invited to join the SRCA and become the Scripps Ranch Fire Safe Council (SRFSC) for the entire community. For the next four years we expanded our brush abatement program to include a total of 23 Scripps Ranch neighborhoods.

We helped neighborhood organizers form chapters of the SRFSC, and assisted with the planning and execution of wildfire fuel abatement projects for more than 1,200 homes. We shared the expenses with the homeowners, paying about 50% with funds from six additional grants. For more information about the SRFSC, please visit [www.srfiresafecouncil.org] or call 945-6303.

You Do Not Have Enough Insurance

By Ken Klein, Fire Survivor

and Associate Professor of Law

The first thing I learned after the Cedar Fire was that I was really lucky—most of my neighbors did not have enough insurance to pay for the cost of rebuilding. I did. Over the next few years I learned this was not unique to Scripps Ranch. It is this way across the entire nation, across all neighborhoods, classes, and communities. Despite homeowners routinely wanting to have, and believing they have, full insurance, about three-quarters of Americans are underinsured by tens of thousands—often hundreds of thousands—of dollars.

What is unique to Scripps Ranch is an awareness of the possibility of underinsurance. The two most frequent questions I get asked to this day from people who learn we lost our house in the Cedar Fire are: Did you have enough insurance? and How much insurance does a person need? That is unusual. Most people only learn, or even suspect, they are underinsured after they lose their house.

Since I am a law school professor with access to all sorts of information, I set out to understand why people have less insurance than they want and what they can do about it. Here is what I learned

Most of us have only “priced” insurance in the course of buying or refinancing a home. We take the closing binder to an insurance agent or broker and ask them to quote insurance for that home. That quote is almost always for less coverage than it costs to rebuild the home.

At first this is highly counter-intuitive. After all, shouldn’t it be more profitable for an insurance company to price insurance based on coverage that is too high rather than too low? And certainly if someone wants more insurance than they are getting, wouldn’t an insurance agent want to sell it to them? Well, sort of.

In reality, only a very small percentage of homes in the United States are sold or refinanced in any given year, yet almost all homes are insured. Therefore, the profit for insurance companies is not spending time getting new customers—there just are not many of them in any given year—but in retaining and renewing customers.

So the insurance agent or broker has very little incentive to spend a lot of time determining an actual “cost to rebuild” value of your home when quoting you insurance. As a consequence, they spend very little time doing it. The agent or broker has a computer program, a very sophisticated one, that will take all the details about your home, right down to paint color—who knew different colors of paint cost different amounts?—and calculate a reasonably accurate rebuild value. But that takes time. So instead, the agent or broker shortcuts matters and only inputs basic information about the home—age, square footage, address—and using this bare bones data the quote is, on average across the country, 20% or more low.

Many homeowners have at least a vague understanding of what their home is worth if the home was up for sale. Insurance companies take advantage of that. The insurance quote is described to homeowners as “full insurance.” But that insurance does have a stated limit, which is the value the computer program has calculated.

In California the insurance policy generally puts the “risk” of being underinsured on the customer, and the courts—if there is later a lawsuit about underinsurance—have enforced that portion of the insurance policy. The policy often says, and the courts often agree, that the ultimate decision of how much insurance is needed rests on the homeowner.

If the insurance is too little, it’s the homeowner’s problem unless the insurance agent or broker or company explicitly took on the responsibility. It rarely, if ever, matters to the courts, assuming anyone was actually inclined to read their insurance policy, that they do not even get the insurance policy until after they have paid for the insurance. And you cannot protect yourself by asking the insurance agent if you have enough insurance. The courts have said that unless this conversation is documented, it counts for nothing.

But wait, the news gets worse. Over time, the gap in underinsurance widens. An insurance company risks the lion’s share of its business—renewals—if it gives a homeowner a reason to wonder if he or she could get the same insurance cheaper. Nothing will raise that question quicker than raising the premium. Annually revaluing the home usually means the value goes up, as home values rise much more often than they fall. A higher insured value causes a higher insurance premium.

In order to avoid raising the premium and risking the renewal, the insurer rarely if ever revalues the home as part of the renewal process. In other words, even while construction costs to rebuild rise, the amount of insurance coverage does not.

So What Can You Do?

You must create a record, in writing and email counts, that you want full insurance and are relying on the agent or broker to be selling you full insurance. To do this requires that at every purchase or renewal of insurance, you say in writing to the insurance agent or broker the following:

  1. You want to have enough insurance to fully pay to rebuild the house;
  2. You are relying on the agent or broker to determine what amount of coverage that is;
  3. You will answer any questions the agent or broker asks in order to provide that quote; and,
  4. You require that quote from the agent or broker to be in writing.

You then need to keep that entire set of letters or emails—your questions and their answers—somewhere safe that is not in the house. If they will not quote you insurance in writing in response to your request, you need to go somewhere else for insurance. This seems like a lot of trouble, but there are three things that the past makes certain about the future:

  • Wildfire will return to Scripps Ranch;
  • Lots of homes will burn down; and,
  • 80% of homeowners who lose their homes will have less insurance coverage than it will cost to rebuild.

Kenneth S. Klein is an associate professor of law at California Western School of Law in San Diego, where he teaches a course in Natural Disaster Law. He lost his home in the 2003 Cedar Fire and was recognized by the State Bar of California for his pro bono work with victims of the 2007 California wildfires.

Paying It Forward…

Fire survivors not only made it through the rebuilding process but found ways to help others affected by wildfires. The homeowners insurance reform legislation passed in both 2004 and 2005 was backed by tremendous grass-roots lobbying from Scripps Ranch Cedar Fire survivors.

The reformative legislation, particularly mandatory extension of Additional Living Expense (ALE) benefits that passed in 2005, really made a substantive difference for fire survivors when the devastating 2007 wildfires—Witch Creek, Rice, Harris, and Guajito—hit. For details on the legislation, please visit [www.insurance.ca.gov/wf-con-info/0020-ho-rights].

Scripps Ranch Cedar Fire survivors continue to support wildfire survivors across the country. Here are examples. After returning to her rebuilt home in 2005, Scripps Ranch resident and fire survivor Karen Reimus began volunteering with the nonprofit organization United Policyholders (UP). Through its Roadmap to Recovery program, UP provides free recovery information and tools to individuals, families, and businesses hit by disaster. Karen has facilitated yearlong UP disaster recovery support programs for wildfire survivors in California, Texas, and Colorado, and continues to help where needed.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Disaster Assistance has twice named Karen a finalist for its “Phoenix Award,” a national disaster recovery volunteer award recognition, for her disaster support work in California—the 2007 Witch Creek Fire—and Colorado—the 2010 Fourmile Canyon Fire. She is currently traveling to Colorado on a monthly basis, facilitating wildfire recovery meetings for people who lost their homes in June’s devastating Black Forest Fire.

Karen is a contributing author of The Disaster Recovery Handbook. She says, “So many people, friends, and strangers, helped my family after our home burned down. I’m truly blessed to have the chance to try and pay that help forward by working in other disaster-struck communities.”

Cedar Fire survivor Ken Klein was a guest speaker at one of the Roadmap to Recovery programs Karen facilitated in Fort Collins, Colorado, last year for those who lost homes in the devastating High Park/Woodland Heights fires. Ken, who wrote the article on underinsurance, also has done hours upon hours of pro bono work for wildfire survivors in California.

Cedar Fire survivors—including Karen, Ken, Julie Robinson, Erik Strahm, Debbie Jefferson, Marsha Linehan, and Jack Mueller, just to name a few—led small-group discussions of 2007 wildfire survivors at recovery meetings for that fire survivor community.

Survivor Julie Robinson contributed her personal property inventory list to the nonprofit charity United Policyholders. That list has now been distributed to possibly thousands of disaster survivors across the United States to help them complete the daunting task of inventorying all of their lost belongings. This was one of the difficult tasks that Cedar Fire survivors had to undertake with little guidance.

At least 70 Cedar Fire survivors continue to volunteer in UP’s Disaster Survivor Support Network, where they make themselves available to provide empathy and support to current disaster survivors. Many of those same survivors have contributed to an online “Claims Help Library” that provides free written recovery resources to current survivors.

Cedar Fire survivor Jan Rasmussen worked for the Long-Term Recovery Center, supporting 2007 wildfire survivors. Cedar Fire survivor David Shalinsky facilitated fire recovery programs at Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church for those affected by that fire.

Many other Scripps Ranch Cedar Fire survivors have found ways to pay it forward. We thank all of them for their incredible strength and spirit of giving. As one survivor said, “Our community was there to help us…and we are trying to help others.” That’s why 10 years later, we continue to be Scripps Ranch Strong.