8,951 acres within the Rose Creek Watershed burned in the Cedar Fire of October 2003. The remaining unburned land within the watershed is still extremely vulnerable from the threat of wildfire.
MCAS Miramar and the county open space preserves in adjacent Sycamore and Goodan canyons provide a large contiguous tract of vegetation connected the rural east county with the developed west county. This allows Santa Ana winds to drive fires rapidly into the urban areas. Rose and San Clemente canyons are located along the western edge of this pathway .
An analysis of the Cedar fire’s movement west across the Rose Creek Watershed shows that the fire could have quickly reached La Jolla if the wind hadn’t dramatically changed direction. A review of the Rose Creek Watershed’s fire history shows that much of the vegetation that remains unburned after the Cedar Fire has not burned since the early 1930s, which raises additional concern about the buildup of fuels.
Proper maintenance of plants and other flammable materials around homes and business will reduce the threat and impacts of wildfire. This is especially a concern in the Rose Creek Watershed becase so many structures in Clairemont, University City and La Jolla are adjacent to natural open space canyons. Proper maintenance can also minimize other hazards such as soil erosion and slope failure.
- City of San Diego Brush Management Guide
- A Homeowner’s Guide to Fire and Watershed Management at the Chaparral/Urban Interface
Homeowners interested in fire prevention strategies that will enhance the natural values of the watershed have many native fire-safe plants from which to choose.