Vista Fire Safe Council to receive $10,000 grant

VISTA — The Vista Fire Safe Council will be receiving a $10,000 Neighborhood Reinvestment Program grant to purchase fire-retardant gel and associated equipment.

A 5-0 San Diego County Board of Supervisors vote Sept. 12 approved the use of District Five Neighborhood Reinvestment Program funding for the purchase of new fire gel kits along with pressure washers, hoses, storage caches and educational materials.

Each county supervisor has an annual $2 million discretionary Neighborhood Reinvestment Program budget. The Neighborhood Reinvestment Program is intended to provide grants to nonprofit organizations for the furtherance of public purposes at the regional and community levels. 

In addition to nonprofit organizations, county supervisors can also fund schools and fire departments, and supervisors can also use money from their budgets to supplement other county funding for specific county projects such as parks, roads and libraries. 

Each county supervisor recommends the allocation of his or her Neighborhood Reinvestment Program funds, although those allocations must be approved by a majority of the board. 

Supervisor Bill Horn recommended the District Five Neighborhood Reinvestment Program funds for Vista Fire Safe Council.

The Vista Fire Safe Council educates residents about reducing the risk of wildfire damage. Their mission is to provide fire safety education, encourage pre-fire management, hold meetings and engage community participation through programs and activities.

The supervisors’ action also provided Neighborhood Reimbursement Program money to the DeLuz Volunteer Fire Department and to the Palomar Mountain Fire Safe Council for fire gel.

  During the October 2003 Paradise Fire the DeLuz Volunteer Fire Department traveled to Valley Center and became the first fire department in San Diego County to use fire-resistant gel to save homes.

During the October 2007 Poomacha Fire the Palomar Mountain Volunteer Fire Department utilized its supply of gel to create fire breaks and defend structures. The gel can be applied to equipment and vegetation as well as structures.

The Neighborhood Reinvestment Program was known as the Community Projects program in March 2008 when Horn utilized $80,000 of his Community Projects budget to provide gel to eight fire safe councils in the Fifth District. Barricade International, which manufactures the gel, provides a warning that the gel has a specific shelf life and must be reprocessed after several years to maintain its applicability and effectiveness. 

The current Neighborhood Reinvestment Program grant will reprocess the current stock as well as purchase additional fire gel kits for new homeowners. The educational materials inform homeowners about wildfire prevention as well as how to use the fire gel properly.

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