Posted by: Bonnie Phelps | November 19, 2018

NBC News Tonight 4 and 6pm

Had a last minute call as NBC Reporter, Danny Freeman.  He was on his way up the mountain.  The recent fires prompted a story about the need for getting properties more fire safe.   He rode around with me seeing some of what has been done on Palomar.

Not sure what he will use but I  mentioned that during a time of drought, it has been estimated that Palomar’s trees could survive best where there is about 80 trees per acre.  Some places are 1000 trees per acre so there is a lot of work that could be done.

I praised our Firesafe Council for all they are doing and the National Forest folks who have had a masticator and hand crews clearing the front side of Section 14 where they abut Crestline.  The County Road guys do a great job grooming along-side the public road.  SDG&E has done so much over the years, taking down standing dead at risk of falling on their power lines and replacing wood poles with metal ones.

We spoke of the time there was a farmer with his herd of goats that cleared a 10 acre area on the canyon slope below AT&T phone repeater and the County Road Station.  Perfect timing before that last fire showed up.

Driving around, Danny saw quite a few examples where brush and trees are very thick, right next door to properties where the owners have done a great job.

I mentioned insurance companies actually require more fire clearance that the Forest Service and it helps so much with even getting new insurance to have properties groomed before inspections.

We talked quite a bit about thinning out these small cedars that carpet the mountain in so many areas and the importance of pulling or cutting them while they are small.  As they grow bigger, they are all fighting for the same water and sun so survive best when about 20 feet apart.

Also mentioned that we are thankful that we are not required to get permits to cut down a tree on our own land.  Mammoth and Tahoe, for example had a $500.00 permit per tree the last time I was talking to folks there.  Several years ago we were on our way to Tahoe and I commented how the cabins we passed had so little defendable space.  I said it would be such a risk to send fire crews through some of those roads.  We stayed at a campground and mentioned how over-grown the area was, then at dinner and another place for breakfast.  The folks I talked to all said the same thing, “Permits to take down one tree were $500.00.  It was just too expensive….”

About 5 days later, we heard on the news that Tahoe was on fire.  I tracked it and the campground and restaurants where we ate, all burned.   It broke my heart.  If only they had their properties groomed, if only they didn’t have the permit fees, if only…   I realize the recent fires also had extreme wind conditions, but most fires could have less damage with some planning ahead.

So, my suggestions are to only groom around the large trees and the structures you’d really like to keep…

For those of you who want to tune in, the story is to air on the 4:00 and 6:00 news on Channels 7 and 39.

Thank you Danny!

Bonnie Phelps, Realtor



  1. Very nice write up – and some good thoughts and suggestions!

  2. Thank you for this post!

    • You are welcome Hiroshi. Be sure to click on the Fire Safe Council link in the post. Lots of info for you there, too.

  3. Thank you Bonnie for once again getting out this important information!

  4. Thanks for the update!
    Tammy Robbins

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