Tree removal underway to avoid fire danger prompts concern amongst residents

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ALPINE, Calif. — To prevent wildfires in at-risk areas ahead of this year’s San Diego wildfire season, East County is conducting extensive tree and shrub removal, removing anything that poses a fire hazard within five feet of a structure , but the move is causing concern among some local residents.

“What we want to do is completely cut away anything that might be protruding above the roofline,” said Alpine Fire Marshal Jason McBroom as he took FOX 5 to tour an apartment complex in the area and highlighted the fire hazard just yards away from surrounding units.

To mitigate the threat, Alpine is currently under state law, SB 63, which went into effect last year and requires the removal of trees, shrubs and plants taller than 18 inches from homes, schools, businesses and other structures in the area; something enforced by the Alpine Fire Protection District.

“It’s like links in a chain. The tighter the chain, the stronger the community,” McBroom said.

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However, the move has met some opposition from local residents like Ana Rivera, who has rented an apartment in the area for five years. She worries that the large number of trees to be felled could have a lasting impact on the environment and wildlife.

“We are destroying trees that have been here for decades. “This wasn’t built in a day … and every decision we make has long-term implications … and I think it’s really important to involve the community in decisions like that,” Rivera shared.

“There is a price that is definitely accepted. We do our best not to detract from the natural beauty and splendor of the Alpine community, but we also need to understand that there is a balance between fire safety and environmental protection.” When it comes to life safety and security. This is of the utmost importance”

Fireman, Jason McBroom

Teams began work Monday and plan to work through May 26 to clear threatening trees and shrubs around the complex.

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